Recording of November 10th Public Realm and Resources Scrutiny Commitee
The recent Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee heard a heart-rending story from a local resident about her experience in the recent Kilburn floods and from Brent Council officers about the authority's responsibilities regarding flooding and fluvial and surface water occurrences.
Unfortunately the Council's main partners, the Environment Agency and Thames Water did not attend but will do so in January 2022. The officers' Report can be found HERE.
Ruined household items after the July floods on Westminster side of Kilburn Park Road (My London News)
The importance of hearing directly from Thames Water is highlighted by this extract from the My London News coverage of the July floods LINK:
Speaking to the subcontractors working for Thames Water attempting to lower water levels in the drains next to her property, [Aimee] asked about the chances of it happening again, to which one engineer reportedly told her: “The whole system has been compromised. Of course it will happen again.”
Aimee, who is eight months pregnant, claims an engineer employed directly by Thames Water then took the subcontractors to one side in order to speak with them alone.
The following day, she says she was visited by a Thames Water employee who 'looked more senior' and told her the subcontractors 'should not have said that'.
But, when pushed, Aimee claims the engineer couldn't say the flooding would not happen again.
Post flood 'repair' photographed recently on my visit to South Kilburn Estate
As readers will know Wembley Matters has published a number of articles recently on flooding in the area in the light of the number of increased extreme weather events as a result of climate change. I posed a question to the November 22nd Full Council on this and the question and response are below:
1. Question from Martin Francis to Councillor Krupa
Sheth, Lead Member for Environment
In the light of the increased prevalence of extreme weather events as a result of climate change and recent flooding in the borough, as well as a large number of new developments and increasing numbers of paved over gardens, does Brent Council:
(1) Intend to work with partners including the Environment Agency and Thames Water to review and revise Brent Council’s
(a) Flood Risk Management Strategy
(b) Surface Water Management Plan
(2) Advise property owners and developers on mitigation measures?
Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, Brent Council is responsible for reducing the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses as a Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA). To continue to meet our responsibilities we:
· Develop, maintain, regularly update and apply a local Flood Risk
Management Strategy. The overarching aim of the strategy is to enable the long-term management of flooding arising from rivers, surface water and groundwater in the borough and to communicate the risks and consequences of flooding to our residents and businesses.
· Maintain a register of flood risk management assets (structures that have an effect on flood risk management). This includes all flood risk management assets such as culverts, watercourses and holding tanks. All drainage assets, including the Council maintained and maintained by Thames Water and Environment Agency are logged on Flood Station.
overall management for highway drainage (road gullies) on designated public
highway. As Highway Authority, we manage the 20,700 road gullies within the
borough via a cyclical cleansing regime, and also respond reactively to any
defect or blockages on the network.
· Implement small scale schemes to address localised flooding problems such as broken gullies or gully pipes, or localised gully capacity problems. Larger scale capacity problems are within the remit of Thames Water who are responsible for the main drainage system.
· Respond to planning applications - As lead local flood authority, we are a statutory consultee for major developments and in accordance with the GLA plan for Sustainable drainage we ensure that a significant betterment (i.e. improved drainage arrangements) is incorporated into new developments.
This in turn reduces the risk of surface water flooding on our public highways.
· Produce and maintaining a flood risk asset register - All of our drainage assets are located on an asset register, which includes all non-tributary watercourses, culverts and attenuation tanks.
· Issue land drainage consents on ordinary watercourses and carry out enforcement - All works undertaken non-statutory main rivers must obtain consent form the council so we are able to oversee and audit all processes to ensure sustainable measure are undertaken.
· Investigate significant local flooding events - As a lead local flood authority, we investigate all major flooding incidences and record the data.
As LLFA the council works in partnership with utility companies, Environment Agency and others in order to ensure that all appropriate measures are taken to mitigate flood risk. Plans are regularly reviewed and updated as risks and other factors change.
As a Category One Responder under the Civil Contingencies Act, the council has a responsibility to warn, inform and advise the public before during and after emergencies have occurred. We publicise warnings of severe weather and provide advice and information for residents on the council website to assist them prepare for potential severe weather events such as those that may cause flooding. The information provided also outlines what assistance the council is able to offer as well as measures that people can take to protect their own homes.