Natural approach to flood control could be used in Worthing

You may be wondering what an article on flood control has to do with Neighbourhood Watch.

But Neighbourhood Watch is nothing if not about community, and the measures that we can, as a community, put in place to mitigate the threat of flooding – thereby also reducing the pressure on our emergency services – are therefore worth sharing.

Worthing flooding. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

Worthing flooding. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

In his presentation at a meeting of the Tarring Flood Action Group last Thursday, David Pope, principal landscape architect at The Project Centre Ltd, quoted the Association of British Insurers’ estimate for claims following flooding in the year to January 2016 as amounting to £1.3billion.

What we spend on flood defences amounts to a tiny proportion of that sum.


Also in the news, there was heartbreak after a ‘magical fairy tree’ in North Lancing was stripped bare, a visitor was told she had ‘wrong kind of wheelchair’ for Worthing taxis and it was the end of an era as Highdown Tea Rooms closed its doors for the last time.

Mr Pope pointed out that urbanisation had prevented water taking its optimal route with run-off being as high as 55 per cent in urban areas compared with ten per cent in a natural setting. This means that flood water flowing into drainage is likely to result in a very full drain which will, at some point, be unable to cope.

Tim Drew

Tim Drew

However, sustainable drainage systems can be used in all types of development to provide a natural approach to managing drainage.

These can include downpipe disconnection in order to catch water in water butts and planters, which allow water to percolate; tree pits which store rainwater which is used to irrigate the trees while the excess drains into the sewer system and rain gardens which are relatively small depressions in the ground - one such has been built at Maltravers Road in Littlehampton, but they can be constructed in private gardens; and permeable paving, which is the most expensive and potentially difficult option available.

Detailed plans had been drawn up involving the possible implementation of all of the above options across areas in Tarring where the threat of flooding is most apparent, and these will be further discussed at the next meeting of the action group in September.

• For more information about the Worthing & Adur Neighbourhood Watch Associations click here.

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