The following is a record of of an ongoing email exchange between the following parties:

  • The occupier of a premises without either a Water or a Sewerage Connection running a small business.
  • The Constituency Assistant to the MSP for the area, Nicola Surgeon.
  • Scottish Water Business Stream

Comments are in red. Emails are in REVERSE date order, i.e. the newest are first.

Noted that responses just seem to stop when Scottish Water Business Stream do not gain acceptance of their [erroneous] point of view.

This is the email chain: some words have been changed to hide personal identities. The originals are held in PDF format for Audit purposes.

23 January 2018 at 11:09 - Email from Brodies acting on behalf of Scottish Water Business Stream

Good Morning,

Thanks for your email.

I can provide you a copy of invoices at this stage if you require these to show a full breakdown of balance due at this stage for point 1?

What has been requested is a statement of the applicable law which under which Scottish Water and or its subsidiary Business Stream is able to pursue the tenant of a premises which is NOT an eligible premises under the 2005 Act for Drainage Charges.

We will seek our clients instructions on how they wish to proceed in regards to your points 2 and 3.

I will be in contact in due course. 

23 January 2018 at 10:12 - Email to Brodies acting on behalf of Scottish Water Business Stream

Good afternoon Mr xxxxx,

We have taken legal advise on the matter and want to bring following three points to your attention.

  1. Scottish water Business stream have not provided details which says that we have to pay. We have asked for the information repeatedly.
  2. There is no Law which states that " all commercial Properties in Scotland are Liable for road drainage"
  3. It is up to Scottish water Business stream to prove that we are connected and not vice versa. We already had many visits from Scottish water and each and every room checked and photos taken. A final visit was made by MWH on 13th August, 2017 after which it was confirmed that there is no water connection and connection to Scottish water sewer whether it be foul or storm or combined.

17 January 2018 - Email from Brodies acting on behalf of Scottish Water Business Stream

Good Morning,

As per email below can an update be provided on how you wish to resolve this matter.

Difficult to answer this as no charges are due ! The premises cannot be classified as "Eligible Premises" under Section 27 the 2005 Act. Noted that neither Brodies, nor SWBS, nor SW, nor their debt collectors ad nauseam seem unable, or unwilling, to specify the Law under which charges are being raised despite being repeatedly asked.

10 January 2018 - Email to Brodies acting on behalf of Scottish Water Business Stream

Good afternoon,

Mr xxxxxx is off sick because of flu.

he shall be in contact with you next week.

9 January 2018 - Email from Brodies acting on behalf of Scottish Water Business Stream

Thanks for your email.

Our client has confirmed that you are only being billed for Surface Water Drainage.

All commercial properties in Scotland are liable for roads drainage.

But only if the premises is an eligible one according to Section 27 of the 2005 Act

Roads drainage is your share of the cost of draining all of Scotland's roads (not just the particular roads near your
premises).

It is Scottish Government policy that the cost of roads drainage is recovered from all customers connected to the Public Sewer System.

If you believe you are not connected to the Public Sewer System please provide evidence of this.

The law places the onus on the pursuer to provide the necessary evidence - NOT the other way around.

A Chartered Engineer has inspected the premises and determined that there are no connections whatsoever to the premises.

The account will remain on hold for 7 days, failure to provide the supporting documentation may lead to court action without prior notice.

Without prejudice.

20 December 2017 - Email to Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

Dear sir/ Madam, I refer to your letter dated 17/11/2017.

Despite repeated requests asking Business Stream to define the Law which defines any liability, Business stream has studiously refused to respond coherently in a sensible manner.

The legal advice we have received is that " Section 27 of the 2005 act is simple, straight forward and clear to any body. To be eligible for water charges, a Scottish water provided water or sewerage connection is a prerequisite, my premises have neither.

Please note that this refusal to provide information will be brought to the attention of the courts if any action is raised.

17 November 2017 - Letter from Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

Final court action warning
Reference no: xxxxxx
Amount outstanding: £999.99

The debt above remains due and outstanding despite repeated requests for payment.

Our next step is to commence court action against you.

In that court action we will seek payment of the outstanding debt, plus interest and court costs. Any court decree obtained will be enforced against you immediately. Enforcement action may include:

  • Insolvency proceedings: applying for a bankruptcy or liquidation order whichever is appropriate
  • Arrestment: arresting money due to be paid to you by a bank, creditor or employer
  • Attachment: attaching goods outwith and within your property to be sold at auction
  • Inhibition: prevents the sale, transfer or remortgage of your property without payment of full sum, interest and expenses, as well as expenses of putting Inhibition in place. This may also apply if you are a home owner and personally liable for the debt.

In order to prevent this course of action please call us immediately on 0330 123 9525 to make payment or
discuss payment options.

Alternatively, you can make payment directly into our bank account, sort code 30-00-02 account number 03029919,
quoting your reference number or use our secure site to pay instantly at business-stream.co.uk/payonline.

If we do not receive payment or contact within 10 days of this letter your account will be passed to our legal
partners to commence court action.

So just more terror tactics

Scottish Water Business Stream continue to refuse to provide details of the applicable law, and a statement of the physical connections that section 27 of the 2005 Act requires. In this case a Chartered Engineer has inspected the premises and determined that there are no connections whatsoever to the premises - which consist of the solum of Unit B at 11 Forth Street.

Interestingly, it has come to the attention of various prople that Scottish Water's records of its pipeline assets namely water pipes and sewerage pipes is somewhat shambolic to say the least, and they have now appointed consultants and labour only contractors to attempt to rectify this.

It is known that over the last decade, and maybe more, Scottish Water have failed to obtain records from many builders. Instances of water pipe "dead ends" which lead to water borne diseases are legion. 

03 August 2017 - Email to Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

I refer to your email reply of 05/06/2017 in which you did not provide me any answer to my questions.

Since then I have received two demand letters from Arvato and also two phone calls.

In the second phone call the person named Nnnnnn, spoke to me in anger and was very aggressive in his tone.

We are law abiding citizens of Scotland and would pay all the legitimate and valid demand for payment.

I would request you to provide me from Scottish water, or other source ( the 2005 ACT, or other legislation, or validLegal opinion- with name of the council, or report of a court case (Thus not from the SPSO), the reason valid inLaw, and thus supportable in the Sheriff court, that Premises which have neither a direct connection to aScottish Water, water pipe or a direct connection to a Scottish Water Sewer whether in be Foul, storm, orcombined should be treated as an Eligible Premises.

Should court proceedings be raised, I reserve the right to bring this to the attention of the court.

Yet again the simple question has been asked.

05 June 2017 - Email from Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

I refer to your email of 25 April 2017 requesting a copy of the Legal advice obtained by ScottishWater Business Stream in respect of our response dated 2 March 2017. Business Stream has treated your request for information as a request made under the Freedom of Information(Scotland) Act 2002 (the 2002 Act).

Business Stream’s decision about your premises was not based on legal advice instructed by Business Stream. I can confirm on behalf of Business Stream that per section 17 of the2002 Act the information you have requested is not held by Business Stream and therefore cannot be providedto you.I trust this confirms our position on this matter.

Another refusal to be open honest and accountable and explain why the charges have been raised.

11 May 2017 - Email to Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

Thank you very much for your telephone call of last week, in response to my e-mail of 25th April, 2017.

I confirm that in that phone call you indicated that you were referring my request for relevant information about your legal advice, to your superiors and hoped to get back to me, within couple of weeks.

I look forward to your response in due course.

Noted that they are now reverting to telephone calls . . . . naturally these have to be confirmed. They then allocate another complaint reference presumably so that they can chalk the first one up as settled ... which of course it isn't.

Whatever this is causing more and more unnecessary expenditure of personnel time which costs more and more money.

25 Apr 2017 - Email to Scottish Water Business Stream [Complaints]

Good Morning,

We received an email from Mr Irfan Rabbani, Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP ( Glasgow Southside) stating that Scottish Water Business Stream has rejected our position that "Unit B 11 Forth street, G41 2SP is not an Eligible Premises" based on legal advice.

We still maintain our position, after checking with our Lawyer and also having had opinion of competent Civil Engineer.

Please provide us a copy of the Legal advice obtained by Scottish Water Business Stream which should comprise of:

  1. The Memorial for Counsel produced by the Solicitors for Scottish Water Business Stream.
  2. The Council's opinion produced in response to that.

Please note that relevant and applicable advice on a similar case has already been taken and is published here;
http://www.unaccountablescotland.org.uk/index.php/water-charges/water-charges-about-the-law/water-charges-counsel-s-opinion

I look forward to your response.

11 Apr 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I am sorry you are disappointed. However, I quote from the email I sent which you are referencing:

“In light of the substance of the response it would be something that if you still wish to challenge would require legal and architectural teams to do so on your behalf. I trust we have been helpful to date but it is really now a matter we can no longer assist further with.

Comment: Scottish Water Business Stream's standardised repsonses are now exhausted - but none of them are satisfactory responses i.e. actually answering the question posed.

11 Apr 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I am disappointed, I did follow your suggestions and spent money to get an opinion, at least you could have communicated the information to Scottish Water Business stream in this instance.

11 Apr 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I refer to my email of the 16th March and we have engaged with them providing all the information you had passed on. However unfortunately as per that email it is for you now to take any appropriate action.

10 Apr 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I refer to the email you forwarded to me on 2nd March, 2017, in which you suggested that I should consult a chartered Engineer. I have now received a copy of the email that Eur Ing Richard Townsend-Rose MA CEng MICE, sent to you on 20th March, 2017. In that email, I see that he confirms what I have been saying all along, this is what he said in that email,

" It is my judgement, as a competent engineer, that the Unit B, is not an Eligible Premises, and is thus not liable for water, Sewerage or drainage charges".

All the structural alteration work, to the building, at 11 Forth street, G41 2SP, has been completed and I have received the correct RV notification from Glasgow city Council. A copy is attached for your reference.

Perhaps you could communicate all the information to Scottish Water Business Stream.

20 Mar 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

Email from Eur Ing Richard Townsend-Rose MA CEng MICE.

Over the last few years, we have been conducting research into Scottish Water's Revenue Protection Department, and how they operate. We have also examined the way that the Water Industry operates.

It seems as if much of the Water Industry is ignoring the 2005 Water Act, and in Particular Section 27 which defines Eligible Premises - that is the definition of those whose occupiers are liable to pay Water Charges [including Sewerage, and Drainage].

We have published the results of this research at http://unaccountablescotland.org.uk/index.php/water-charges, and have included papers which we consider indicates wide spread corruption [using our new definition]. Note: Personal Gain means job security and a pension that are untouchable [and often excessive] in terms of the business community.

I refer to your last communication in which you make some unwarranted and erroneous assumptions on what the law is. Please note that we have published your chain of emails on our facebook page. This formed part of our research, and will eventually be formed into another article indicating the lack of care often displayed by some MSP's in response to serious questions raised by their constituents.

It is my judgement, as a competent Engineer, that the unit is not an Eligible Premises, and is thus not liable for Water, Sewerage, or Drainage charges.

Of significance, we note that the factory is still surviving, but only just, and provides not only much needed employment, but also the majority of his production is exported via others to England & Wales, and Europe.

You may wish to reconsider the responses that you have made on behalf of the MSP representing the area in which the factory is located.

16 Mar 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

Unfortunately, we cannot do that again, as they have provided a full and final response based on legal advice they say.

The onus would be on you, or a legal representative now to make contact with them regarding the outstanding amounts. As you can appreciate we have assisted as much as we could to arrive at this stage.

Comment: The "legal advice" was not provided. It was requested by email on 25 Apr 2017 from Business Stream.

15 Mar 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I had a look at Business stream's last reply and find, it was an essay about why we should pay, without forwarding any solid reasons and statement of current Law to support the argument.

I am considering the matter, getting legal advice and I am also in consultation with the landlord about this matter. I would request you to ask Business stream to hold off a bit and I shall respond to their last email in due time.

02 Mar 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

We have received what appears now to be a definitive response on the issue. In light of the substance of the response it would be something that if you still wish to challenge would require legal and architectural teams to do so on your behalf. I trust we have been helpful to date but it is really now a matter we can no longer assist further with.

This is the email which was under cover [forwarded] from Scottish Water Buisness Stream

Thank you for your correspondence of 16 February 2017 in respect of the surface water drainage charges levied to your constituent. I note the points raised and I am now in a position to provide my response on this matter.

I understand that it is your constituent’s contention that his property is not an eligible premises as there is no sewerage (neither foul nor storm) connection to the premises. I would ask you to note that Scottish Water has confirmed that property drainage from the building drains into Scottish Water’s sewer. It is worth noting that Scottish Water’s guide to surface water drainage states:

The vast majority of properties in Scotland have their surface water property drainage (roofs and hard standing areas) connected to the public sewer network.

All pipes and drains within the boundary (curtilage) of a property are considered to be in private ownership, including drains for surface water property drainage. These drains usually run to connect with other sewer systems out with the boundary of the property. An overarching principle to bear in mind is that where a drain exits the boundary of a property, it automatically becomes a sewer.

As soon as the pipes leave the boundary of the property, they are considered to be sewers. In Scotland the overwhelming majority of pipes which remove waste water and surface water beyond the boundary of a property belong to Scottish Water.

Where a sewer is public, Scottish Water is obliged to convey and discharge the surface water to a suitable location for treatment and/or disposal. Charges apply where the pipes leave the boundary of the property and become a public sewer as the public sewer network is being utilised.

As rainwater from the property drains from the building and connects into the sewer, your constituent is considered to be an eligible premises with a connection to Scottish Water’s network. I would ask your constituent to consider that if the road outside his property and the roof above the property were not drained, his property would be flooded or there would have to exist an alternative private drainage system. In addition as previously explained, roads drainage charges in Scotland are customers contribution towards the costs of all roads in Scotland, not just those immediately outside a property.

The Ministers’ Statement on the Principles of Charging sets out who is to be charged and how they are to be charged (for example metered/unmetered). A key principle is that there should be cost recovery – that is that customers should pay for the services received – in this case drainage services. As a result of this, Scottish Water has a scheme of charges, which has been approved by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland that reflects the legal framework. This understanding is ultimately subject to the determination of the Courts.

If your constituent disputes that there is a connection for drainage to the public sewer he would be required to provide the following so that a challenge may be submitted to Scottish Water:

  • “As built” drainage plan(s) for the property showing both the foul and surface water drainage arrangements throughout. These will normally be engineering consultant plans or plans of a similar standard. The plans should show the points to which the drainage was designed and constructed to discharge or connect. The plan(s) should cover the entire extent of the boundary of the property. Where the property to be reviewed is part of a larger estate with multiple tenants as explained above, the drainage layout plan(s) must extend to include the full extent of the landlord’s property.
  • Where a private sewer is shown out with the boundary of the property and this is stated as belonging to the owner of the non-household property, drainage layout plan(s) of the private sewer should be provided showing the route and the eventual discharge point.
  • Copies of the way leave or servitude agreements of rights to use third party pipework or construct sewers in private land, where the pipes exit the boundary of the property;
  • Where the property drains to a watercourse outside the boundary and the pipe beyond the boundary is believed to belong to a party or parties other than Scottish Water, copies of any permits allowing the discharge.

Taking all the above into consideration, I can confirm that our position remains unchanged and I am satisfied that your constituent’s charges are correct and the balance of £???.?? remains due and payable.

Once again, thank you for bringing this to my attention and I trust this clarifies our position on this matter.

Yours sincerely
xxxxxxx | Complaints Handler

Comment: This is an irrelevant essay about drainage infrastructure which STILL fails to deal with the constituent's contention that his premises is NOT an Eligible Premises.

Comment: The words - "This understanding is ultimately subject to the determination of the Courts" is remarkable. This year is 2017, the Act is from 2005. This means that for the last TWELVE years, the Water Industry has contrived, apparently deliberately, to misinterpret the Law.

23 Feb 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

We are awaiting a response from their legal team and I will be back in touch as soon as I hear.

16 Feb 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

My research tells me that it is Water services (Scotland) Act 2005 which is as follows should apply, but not any dwelling.

27 Meaning of “eligible premises”

  1. In this Part, “eligible premises” means -
    1. in relation to the supply of water, premises which are (or are to be) connected to the public water supply system; and
    2. in relation to the provision of sewerage or the disposal of sewage, premises which are (or are to be) connected to the public sewerage system,
  2. In subsection (1), “dwelling” means any dwelling within the meaning of Part II (Council tax: Scotland) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (c. 14) except the residential part of part residential subjects within the meaning of that Part of that Act.
  3. The Scottish Ministers may by order modify subsection (2) so as to vary the meaning of “dwelling”.

According to the above we do not constitute as "eligible premises", that is the basis of my point in my last email. Section 27 of the 2005 water Act precludes charging for runoff ( property and road), if there is no sewerage ( neither foul nor storm) connection to the premises.

16 Feb 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

Just received as below: 

This is the email which was under cover [forwarded] from Scottish Water Buisness Stream

Thank you for taking the time to speak to me yesterday in respect of the surface water drainage charges (SWD) for the above address. I am sorry to note that your constituent remains in dispute over these charges.

Scottish Water confirmed the liability for property and roads drainage charges based on the rateable value associated to his Unit. Whilst I appreciate that your constituent does not have a water or foul sewerage connection in his Unit, the charges in respect of SWD remain liable as property drainage from the property enters the public sewerage network and is treated by Scottish Water.

Whilst noting your constituent’s contention that his premises consist of the inside of his Unit and that the parking space outside is a public car park, I can confirm that property drainage is liable to any tenant in a property where rainwater from the roof of the building drains into the public sewer. Roads drainage does not just apply to the parking space directly outside your constituent’s unit, but to all roads in Scotland. Your constituent is liable to pay a contribution towards this cost based on the rateable value of his unit.

I can confirm that under Section 29 of the Water Industry (Scotland) Act 2002, Scottish Water has the authority to create a charging scheme for all charges that apply to customers. This is agreed with the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) and non-domestic licensed providers such as Business Stream must follow this charging scheme and not exceed the default charges set by WICS.

I am, therefore, satisfied that the charges levied to the account are correct and as such, the balance of £???.?? is due and payable.

I trust this confirms our position on this matter.

Yours sincerely
xxxxxxx | Complaints Handler

Comment: The ministerial directive prohibits the use of rateable value in connection with water etc charges. Agreed that Section 29 requires Scottish Water to set the charging rates: HOWEVER in does NOT nullify Section 27 which defines who is liable for charges.

Comment: This fails to deal with the constituents contention that his premises is NOT an Eligible Premises.

14 Feb 2017 - Email from the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

I am awaiting a further response from them based on what you have said. However, I believe that what you are liable now for is statutory and not dependent on having a physical water supply and any or all such charges are payable by all regardless of a water connection. The only way you would not have to pay these would be if it was included as part of your rental agreement with your landlord.

However, I will await their final response and forward to you upon receipt.

Comment: The word "statutory" is introduced: Rathjen's rule - or "alternative law" makes its appearance - without assistance from Scottish Water or any other body. 

13 Febr 2017 - Email to the Constituency Assistant to Nicola Sturgeon MSP (Glasgow Southside)

Thank you for all your help and efforts in getting the drainage bill reduced, by making Scottish Water Business stream aware that they used the wrong rateable value for the property.

I now want to raise a new complaint about my bill from Scottish Water Business stream.

In my view I am not liable for any drainage charges.

The grounds for this are that I do not have a connection to the public sewerage system and so I am not liable to pay drainage and property charges. My premises, consist of the INSIDE of the unit only.

Please ask Scottish water Business stream, What and where is my connection to the public sewerage, they have visited the unit 6 or 7 times. The parking space out side is a public car park space and the roof is not my affair.

I look forward to hear back from you.

Summary

It appears as if there is a standardised methodology to deal with the question of "eligible premises" which include:

  • Not answering the question as to why Section 27 is not being applied correctly,
  • Obfuscation - issuing a lengthy irrelevant essay,
  • Implying that the courts have yet to determine a very simple clear item of legislation.

The same has been found to be the case in the drawing of the writs, and in the reworking of the writs as defences are presented. This of course is all designed to run up legal costs, which is why the majority of complainants just settle up and pay. That is a process of "institutional bullying" and should be abhored in any civilised society.