Business losses arising from works in the highway

If you believe your business has suffered losses as a result of work we've been doing in the public highway, you may able to claim compensation.


As part of our commitments and duties as a statutory water and sewerage undertaker, it is often necessary for us to maintain our pipework and apparatus within the public highway. 

We will always try to do as little damage as possible and keep disturbance to a minimum. Sometimes engineering or safety reasons require us to close a lane or road. Diversionary routes and signage are considered and agreed with the local authority prior to the works and implementation of any associated closure. 

Before carrying out works over an extended period we will consult with those who may be affected to try and minimise the impact. We recognise however that our works will sometimes cause a level of unavoidable inconvenience to businesses in the locality.

Assessment of compensation

We will pay statutory compensation for business losses in certain instances. This will depend upon the circumstances of each case and the associated legal rules.

If you believe you have suffered a business loss as a result of our works in the highway and that you are entitled to statutory compensation please contact us.

We will acknowledge receipt of an enquiry within 10 working days and advise of the information we will need to consider a claim. This information may vary depending upon the nature of business loss but will generally include:

  • weekly or monthly trading figures for the claim period and (where applicable) the preceding three full years
  • whether the business is VAT registered and (where applicable) copies of the returns for claim period and preceding three years
  • the last two profit and loss accounts. These should be audited or agreed with the Inland Revenue and certified by your accountant.

If the nature of the claim is particularly complex we may require additional information to support it and this may include trading figures after completion of our works.

Upon receipt of a fully supported claim we will endeavour to make an offer of settlement as soon as possible or give reasons for rejecting the claim. The timescale for this process will vary depending upon the nature of the claim, complexity of information required and extent of liability. We will let you know how long we think it will take to complete our assessment and, where possible, we will try to complete it within three months.

Professional costs

A claimant may appoint a professional agent to represent them in the submission of a claim.

Provided that a claim is successful, we will compensate a claimant for their reasonable and necessary costs of a single agent. 

The amount of compensation payable for an agent’s costs will be limited to a level commensurate with the nature and complexity of work required. It is therefore advisable that the basis of an agent’s proposed costs is agreed with us as early as possible.

If a claimant is concerned about incurring unrecoverable costs, where possible, we are happy to appoint one of our compensation specialists to support them to provide the necessary information for our determination of the claim.

Settlement of compensation

The assessment of compensation is usually undertaken after completion of our works and the true extent of any business loss is apparent.

Where a sum of compensation has been agreed, we will request written confirmation from the claimant and payment by cheque will normally follow within 10 working days.

We recognise that in certain circumstances a particular hardship might be suffered by a business and we may consider making interim payments of compensation. In such instances we will require sufficient evidence to determine liability and whether a case of genuine hardship has arisen.


The Water Industry Act 1991 provides that disputes for either liability or the value of compensation should be referred to a single arbitrator. The arbitrator and their appointment should be agreed between the claimant and us.

In the event that a dispute arises, the claimant would normally request that we agree the appointment of an independent arbitrator. We would reply within one month having considered any arbitrators put forward by the claimant and perhaps making our own suggestions.

If, having made reasonable endeavours, we are unable to agree on the appointment of an arbitrator either party may ultimately ask Ofwat to appoint one.

Contact us

For all enquiries or further information please contact the estates team


or write to: Estates, Wessex Water Services Limited, Operations Centre, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7WW. Alternatively you can call us on 01225 526305 during normal office hours.

We aim to respond to all general correspondence within 10 working days.