Saturday, 19 March 2016

Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) workshop 18.3.16

Yesterday I went to the CaBA workshop, well attended by members from many of the 108 river catchment partnerships that exist throughout the country. This included, officers from the Environment Agency and  good representation from Thames Water - one of our own Hogsmill Partnership members (see previous posts on the South East Rivers Trust; including side tabs on  naturalising the Hogsmill river and Beverley Brook). 

The London boroughs were well represented (Harrow, Enfield, Walthan Forest, Lewisham, Croydon) with many officers leading the presentations, on how they had dealt with devastating fluvial and pluvial flooding events in their boroughs with prevention top of their agenda. The London Wildlife Trust demonstrated their role in the Lost River Efra Project and how they were incorporating Sustainable Urban Drainage with depaving interventions. A CIRIA representative discussed their support for SuDS delivery and the guidance document that can be downloaded from their website.

Peter Bide - who has co-authored a downloadable advice document on Integrated Water Management with Cambridge University - talked us through the Legislation Policy and Guidance; many of the boroughs put their guidance on the table for us to see. This ranged from Lewisham's 'Development near rivers' - a catchment based approach guidance for planners - to 'Planning, Pollution and Partnering' and Harrows approach as expounded in its Local Development Framework  Policies DM4-DM 10 (see Harrows here strategic_flood_risk assessment).

Two outstanding presentations included: 
Firstly, Enfield on rewilding their rivers with  ten projects delivered or in the pipeline. The borough engineers are fully on board- even training their planners on - the benefits and practicalities of the many rewilding techniques. Enfield have very comprehensive guidance on SuDS systems: Strategic Flood Risk Assessment, Local flood risk management etc.; but they are updating their website and the links may not work https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/environment/rivers-and-streams/flood-management/

The second was the London Wildlife Trust's  Lost Effra Project as  presented by Helen Spring who works with the many schools and other partners along the course of the lost river to mark its (underground) presence with SuDS solutions, including green roofs and depaving interventions.

The boroughs discussed the ways they had worked collaboratively to mitigate flood risk and had employed the following solutions, which we might adopt in Kingston:
  •  Boroughs gave their SuDs aspirations and catchment demands at the pre-application stage so that developers knew they had to take a strategic approach and not a site based approach (which Kingston currently operates with its acceptance of 'tanking' to attenuate water);
  •  Many boroughs had highly visible Catchment Guidance documents or Integrated Water Management;
  • Harrow had built SuDS and water attenuation into its LDF so that the planning inspectors couldn't overturn planning refusals that did not pass muster;
  • Waltham Forest employed an intern who scrutinised SuDS in all planning applications, to get a better SuDs solution;
Don't despair if your borough isn't delivering these initiatives with all the benefits of new riparian habitats for biodiversity. The GLA have  a Green Infrastructure Task Force and are delivering a London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan.

In the meantime......anyone for a spot of depaving?

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