Power of the Department to remove deposits imperilling pipe-line
57.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), if, without the consent of the Department, a person so deposits any earth, refuse, spoil or other materials that any of the materials deposited are situated less than 3 metres from a point on the surface of land whose position is vertically above a part of a pipe-line below the surface, the Department may—
(a)enter and remove the materials deposited; and
(b)recover the expenses reasonably incurred by it in so doing from the owner of the land on which the materials were deposited or, if there is more than one owner, from the owners thereof in such shares as the court may determine to be just and equitable.
(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to materials deposited—
(a)for the purposes or in the course of agricultural operations, not being operations for the storage of crops, grass or silage; or
(b)in the course of executing street works within the meaning of the Street Works (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.
(3) An owner of land who pays to the Department the full amount of a claim by it under paragraph (1) may recover from any other owner of the land such contribution, if any, as the court may determine to be just and equitable.
(4) The county court within whose jurisdiction the land is situated shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine any proceedings under paragraph (1) or (3); and in determining for the purposes of either of those paragraphs the shares in which any expenses shall be paid or contributed by two or more owners of any land, a county court shall have regard to their respective interests in the land and all the other circumstances of the case.