Posted: Friday 26th June 2009

The London Borough of Barnet is taking steps to prevent a repeat of the widespread flooding which affected homes and businesses in Colindale in July 2007.

The Council has commissioned international consultancy Scott Wilson to undertake a surface water management plan (SWMP) and investigate how the Council and land owners can better manage the risk of floods from surface water for the benefit of local residents and future development.

In Summer 2007, approximately 20 properties were flooded by surface water in Colindale. The area is highly urbanised and the Silk Stream rises very quickly after rainfall (base flow to peak discharge in less than two hours). In addition, the river is particularly vulnerable to blockages such as debris or rubbish dumped in the channel, which also increases the risk of flooding.

Scott Wilson has investigated the likelihood of future urban flooding in the area. In particular, tests were carried out using numerical models to simulate how rainwater runs off the landscape and where it ponds, causing local flooding.

With this detailed information, the Council is now looking at ways to improve the spatial layout of future development and this work has informed the Area Action Plan for Colindale. The plan will ensure that the level of growth envisaged for the area is supported by proper community and transport infrastructure improvements.

The Council will also be seeking to work with developers to implement flood attenuation areas identified through Scott Wilson’s modelling. There were significant challenges with the appraisal of sustainable drainage system (SUDs) options given the underlying impermeable geology which makes infiltration techniques very difficult in the area due to the presence of London Clay.

Principal Consultant at Scott Wilson, Matthew Graham, comments: “Surface Water Management Plans allow for a measured risk-based approach to sustainable growth and although we can’t stop flooding completely in Colindale, this SWMP is an important step to developing future management and mitigation proposals in the area.”

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