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Flash’ floods could be thing of the past, Government hopes

PUBLISHED: 07:01 24 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 05 October 2010

Police van... caught as rain overwhelms drains in Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, in June, 2006

Police van... caught as rain overwhelms drains in Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, in June, 2006

NEW measures have been published to protect communities at risk from flash’ flooding when drainage sewers get overwhelmed by sudden downpours. The measures are in a Bill going before Parliament which give local authorities new powers to manage surface water

By Mike Brooke

NEW measures have been published by the Government to protect communities at risk from flash’ flooding when drainage sewers get overwhelmed by sudden downpours.

The measures to tackle scenes like this in East London three years ago (pictured above) are contained in the Flood & Water Management Bill going before Parliament which include local authorities being given new powers to manage surface water.

The Bill will require all new developments to include sustainable drainage,’ or alternative ways of dealing with rainwater without connecting to the sewer system, the Environment Department announced last night.

The measures can include ponds, reed beds, permeable paving, soakaways’ and roadside ditches.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: “We’ll see more severe weather as climate change takes hold, with heavier rainfall and potential flooding.

“The weather in the last couple of weeks has shown that this risk is very real. Add this to the need to provide accommodation for a growing population in future and it’s clear that communities need to be protected from surface flooding, which has had a devastating impact on London in recent years.”

Two thirds of the flash’ floods in 2007, which affected 1,410 homes and businesses in London, were caused by surface water which happens when heavy rainfall overwhelms sewers and drains and the water has nowhere to go. It was the second year running that London was hit by flash’ floods after heavy downpours in 2006.

Developers would not be able to start building, under the proposed legislation, until their drainage proposals were approved by local authorities.


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