The Problem With Surface Water Flooding

A leading industry expert has issued a stark warning about surface water flooding, saying that it’s a very real threat to property, life, the economy and the UK as a whole – and it’s a threat that’s growing day by day.


Speaking at the CIWEM Surface Water Management Conference earlier this month, chief executive of the Environment Agency Sir James Bevan explained that more than three million properties in England alone are at risk of this kind of flooding, even more than those at risk from the sea and rivers.


Urban areas are apparently more susceptible because they contain more content and it’s poorer urban areas with lots of high density housing that are the most at risk, because of the number of people and the number of paved drives and parking spaces… which means that rainwater isn’t absorbed as much as if there were big lawns in place instead.


Surface water flooding was included on the national risk register for the first time in 2016, because of more intense and frequent rainfall as a result of climate change, as well as increasing urban populations – which means more concrete. The sewer networks in the UK are likely to be overloaded more frequently, which means more flash flooding.


The Environment Agency has now brought in some changes to help mitigate the risks, such as providing more information so people can see just how vulnerable they are where they live. The Flood Forecasting Centre was also set up to provide the agency, emergency responders and the government with a 24/7 flood forecasting service.


Not only that but record levels of investment have been made in flood defence construction projects, including schemes that reduce the risk of surface water flooding – such as the Willerby and Derringham Flood Alleviation Scheme led by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and Hull City Council in 2016.


“So, things are better than they were. But we cannot afford complacency. Because as all of us seek to improve our performance, the future challenges are growing. The challenge of climate change, which will bring more extreme rainfall.


“The challenge of development, which requires us to build more houses, all of which have potential to increase the risk of surface water flooding. The challenge of constructing modern infrastructure which does not increase the risk of surface water flooding and is more resilient to it when it happens,” Sir Bevan went on to say.


If you’re concerned about surface water drainage charges at your place of business, get in touch with us here at H2O Building Services. We can help you find out if the charges your supplier is levying are accurate in terms of how much water a business needs disposal of. Thousands of companies are in fact routinely overcharged because of fixed and inflexible pricing structures.