EVENT REVIEW: SuDS and Floods – 23rd September 2015

RTPI London’s latest event focused on therupert-jordan-london-flood strategic planning and delivery of a resilient city in the face of climate change.

The need for effective strategic planning was highlighted in a joint presentation from Selissa Fergus-Fleary and Alice Dinsdale-Young, Flood Control Risk Managers from the Environment Agency. The TE2100 plan for London and the Thames estuary subdivides the Thames into 8 zones with planning and investment programmed over 3 ‘epochs’ to 2050; this includes a new Thames barrier. Although the implementation of the Plan will cost over £10bn, this has to be compared to the costs of a major flooding event hitting London, which would cost over £100m per day.

Mike Henderson, Associate Director AECOM, identified that by 2025 London will have a water deficit of 10% and that water quality will continue to remain poor if storm water continues to overflow into the river system. He identified that the natural environment is the most effective way of improving water quality and cited recent research by AECOM into the effectiveness of Melbourne’s ‘Total Catchment Model’. This is under consideration by the GLA for the Old Oak Common opportunity area and aims to reduce to zero the discharge of waste water to river systems through the use of grey and black and water. Similar work has been completed on the northern expansion of Cambridge where water sensitive design has been used to improve biodiversity and estate management.

Mark Matthews, Thames Water’s Planning Manager, identified the importance of integrating SuDS into the design of major developments (despite some resistance form the development industry). TW now require that new developments are planned with an integrated water management system at the start of the planning process. This is often cheaper and more effective than retrofitting SuDS.

Patricia Cuervo in her unique role in the Policy team in RB Kensington and Chelsea identified the importance of adopted policy requiring the inclusion of SuDS in development schemes. The Royal Borough’s policies are supported by a sound evidence base derived from its Surface Water Management Plan. Developer enquiries are referred to a small scale web-based SuDS tool which informs them about the likely impact of their proposals and mitigation.

In conclusion the potential for flood risk remains a major threat to London continued success. There is still a lot to learn and deliver from all parties.

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