Study Notes

Key Case | Transco PLC v Stockport MBC (2003) | Rylands v Fletcher

A Level, BTEC Level 3
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB, Eduqas, WJEC

When considering whether the defendant made a ‘non-natural’ use of land, this element will only be satisfied where it can be proven that a defendant’s use of land was extraordinary and unusual.


Claimant: Transco PLC

Defendant: Stockport MBC

Facts: A pipe that provided water to a block of flats, failed within the block and caused the leaking of water, this was without any negligence of any party with responsibility for the pipe. This caused a substantial leak when unnoticed for a considerable length of time. The water travelled to an embankment which collapsed and left a gas main unexposed. Transco PLC, owners of the gas pipe made a claim against the owner of the water pipe for the costs to make their pipe safe.

Outcome: Not Liable

Legal principle: It is clear when the tort was established that the rule in Rylands v Fletcher is engaged only where the defendant’s use is shown to be extraordinary and unusual, this will be determined by the nature of the land in question and timing is also relevant. The piping of water from the supply from the mains system to the block of flats was not in any way extraordinary or unusual.

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