Experts warn action is needed to prevent further flooding devastation in Britain

Aug. 8, 2007
As Britain counts the costs of this summer's devastating floods, the Government must move fast to invest in improved drainage systems to control stormwater and help prevent further disasters. This summer's weather could be the start of a regular pattern of heavy rainfall as the effects of climate change take hold. The Government needs to pledge major investment to improve our drainage infrastructure and minimize the impact of further flooding, warn leading drainage experts...

LONDON, August 3, 2007 -- As Britain counts the costs of this summer's devastating floods, the Government must move fast to invest in improved drainage systems to control stormwater and help prevent further disasters.

This summer's weather could be the start of a regular pattern of heavy rainfall as the effects of climate change take hold. The Government needs to pledge major investment to improve our drainage infrastructure and minimize the impact of further flooding, warn leading drainage experts Hydro International.

But the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) actually cut the EA's flood defense budget in November 2006 by £15 million, despite the EA's warnings of flood disasters to come. Plans announced by Gordon Brown in July to build 240,000 new homes a year also need to take account of the impact on stormwater control and drainage.

"It's vital to plan to build a better drainage infrastructure now," said Chris Williams, Managing Director of Hydro International. "Critically, the focus should be on holding back the rain as close as possible to the point of falling. In the majority of new build construction the application of such 'source control' technology is already happening.

However the recent floods of South Yorkshire and Gloucestershire and many other regions of the UK, highlighted the inadequacies of our existing sewerage infrastructure. The Environment Agency revealed that more than five times as many households were flooded as a result of overflowing drains and sewers than that of river flooding. To reduce the impact of future flooding, it will be important to provide for increased storage within our existing sewers through the installation of ponds and underground storage tanks."

"Silt and sediment build up would have also reduced the inherent storage capacity of the system. The use of efficient silt control and filtration technology should also be included in the drainage systems, whereby the collected silt can be centrally collected and stored rather than allow silt to generally build up within the sewer. The added benefit of efficient sediment control would also reduce stormwater related pollution," he added

"Each of the existing stakeholders involved in the UK water cycle have a distinct role each with limits to their responsibility. It might be time for one unitary authority to become responsible for stormwater, rather than a mix of different authorities"

Hydro International has been a pioneer and champion of sustainable drainage (SUDS) for more than 20 years -- a principle now increasingly widely adopted by UK planning authorities to ensure low-maintenance drainage is installed as close as possible to the point that the water falls, with minimal impact on the local environment. However, more needs to be done to ensure that SUDs are adopted on a more widespread basis throughout the UK.

Hydro International is a leading international specialist supplier of stormwater control, storage and recycling technologies, including products such as the brand leading Hydro-Brake® Flow Control, Stormbloc® or Stormcell® modular stormwater storage systems, Up-Flo™ Filtration and pollution removal systems or StormBank™ rainwater harvesting.

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