Senior Barnet councillors said they were “excited” to waive through a new strategy on sustainable drainage and flood defences to tackle the borough’s increasing flood risk.
Introducing the report that laid out the strategy at a cabinet meeting yesterday (Tuesday 16th) Alan Schneiderman, cabinet member for environment and climate change, set out the situation in the borough.
He said: “As we know the risk of flooding is increasing, not only because of the growing borough population and developments within the borough but obviously of course climate change.”
Cllr Schneiderman summarised the strategy as having two “key parts”. Firstly, developers “should consider implementing sustainable drainage systems [Suds]” in all design plans irrespective of development size.
The report set out different types of Suds to suit different needs. These include rainwater harvesting with water butts, designed to collect rainwater. Some natural methods include planting trees and shrubs to absorb excess rainwater and help prevent the flooding of streets and houses in urban areas.
The second part of the strategy involves “setting out a programme” for Suds on the borough’s highway network in flood-risk locations. Cllr Schneidermann said some Suds schemes were already implemented but the strategy was “aimed at creating a resilient future for Barnet”.
An existing example of a Suds scheme in Barnet is the wetland area created in Silkstream Park, Burnt Oak. The council has identifieda further 38 locations that are “very suitable” for large Suds, with a further 507 identified based on predicted risk of flooding.
Alison Moore, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said the strategy was “great to have on the table” and resident groups would be able to “start thinking about creative schemes locally”.
She mentioned Cherry Tree Wood, a park in her East Finchley ward which had an “increasing propensity to flood”, and said this strategy could help impel “creative solutions”.
Cllr Moore said: “There really are opportunities around increasing biodiversity and future-proofing some of our areas in the face of increased flooding episodes so I just think it’s quite exciting.”
Council leader Barry Rawlings questioned whether Transport for London (TfL) were implementing a similar strategy for roads with flood risks outside of the council’s control, such as Staples Corner and the North Circular.
Ruchi Sayal, senior flood risk manager, said TfL were working towards more Suds implementation and launching pilot schemes, but “not necessarily in our problematic areas”.
She added there were “ongoing conversations” in relation to Suds but said the approach was to continue to engage with them and move it “up their priority list”.