Flood Risk Position Statement

 Left: the River Hogsmill in flood between Rose Walk and Green Lane Recreation Ground, Berrylands, 1937. This image has been reproduced with permission from the website Britain from Above

A group of us recently came together to talk about the risks of flooding in the borough of Kingston.
We have identified a mismatch between the intervention required to mitigate flood risks and practice; particularly where new developments in Flood Zone 3 are concerned. There is also concern about loss of soft verges, and trees and an increase in urban density. 

Hogsmill improvements Tolworth 2015
Hogsmill improvements, Knights Park,
Further landscape interventions are required to slow, store and filter water; reforestation; wetland creation and re-meandering of river catchments; serving to alleviate floods and droughts; slowing the surface water run - off, allowing it to filter and store, recharging aquifers, and creating wildlife habitat. Many of the interventions carried out to improve channel flows in the River Hogsmill and Beverley Brook have been covered in previous posts (see side tabs).

We have written a position statement that we would like to share with other groups who are undertaking similar interventions. We would like to see:

That new developments,  have no net loss of permeability, and ideally should provide a net gain to compensate for past neglect and increased population. Requirements could include: SUDS, trees, green roofs and other green spaces, permeable paving, water storage systems, new drains. 

New developments should be free of flood counter measures that protect themselves at the expense of increasing the flood risk elsewhere (e.g. demountable risers proposed in recent planning applications). 

The council should not be paving the  grass verges (as is recently the case in New Malden see January post). Trees should be planted in the borough; not removed as is currently the case .

The Climate Change contribution required for new developments should be used to assist with policy formulation and training for officers and councillors) rather than a feasibility study for a new bus station.

Good Practice in the borough should be shared more widely: There is a RBK Good Practice Guide, which could be updated (some of the development mentioned in the Guide is in Flood Zone 3b which is active floodplain land and should be used for storing water only).

Could the council employ a landscape architect? as  there are too many hard engineered surfaces in the borough.

There should be no development on areas that Jacobs 2008 identified as being part of our flood defence, such as Thames Water land at Hogsmill Sewage Works.

We note that the ‘sequential test’ recommended in the Jacobs report that development should be primarily encouraged in Zone 1 is being ignored. The Exception Test is also ignored; that is development in Zone 3 should be in exceptional circumstances.

We would like to capture testimonies from people who have suffered from flooding in the borough as part of a mobile exhibition for which we are seeking neighbourhood funding.
We would like to know if the borough’s emergency plan (does it have one? is it up-to-date? Is it robust? are there safe shelters for residents made homeless by flooding? Perhaps the Climate Change contribution could contribute to such a plan.

If you would like to contribute to the discussion in any way please get in touch.


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