Risk of flash flooding in our neighbourhood

The heavy downpour on July 12th 2021 caused flash flooding in several parts of North Kensington. While the StQW neighbourhood was largely spared, there was some flooding of ground floors at the southern end of Latimer Road.

Subsequently Felicity Buchan MP arranged an online session for residents to question Thames Water on why the street drainage/sewerage system was overwhelmed by surface water run-off. The basic response from Thames Water was that their systems performed ‘as designed’. This is hardly encouraging for those in the Borough who suffered serious flooding of their basements.

Was this a one in 10, 20 or 50 year rainfall event? The storm did not feel that unusual given the way that UK weather has performed this summer.

A further set of written responses from Thames Water can read or downloaded below.

The extent of the North Kensington Critical Drainage Area is shown on a map which can be downloaded from the link below. There is much useful information on flood risk on the RBKC website at this link https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy/flooding-planning-policies

The risk of surface water flooding in some of the streets in our neighbourhood is very real. The Counters Creek main sewer, which takes surface water from a wide catchment areas, has been overloaded for years. A major replacement project was abandoned by Thames Water in 2017.

Every year we remind local residents that paving over front gardens with impermeable surfaces and without planning permission is a breach of planning controls. While there are many such examples already in place in the neighbourhood, the Council is likely to take enforcement action on new cases.

RBKC planning policies requires installation of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) for basement projects. But there are questions over the extent to which these, and the use of FLIPS (Flooding Local Improvement Process) can be relied up to address risks. It looks as though the Council will tighten up on this aspect of basement policies in the next version of the Borough’s Local Plan (currently in preparation. Meanwhile the StQW Forum is questioning with RBKC the safety and risks to life of continuing to give planning consent to basements that include bedrooms in addition to living areas.