Council leaders approve building plans to cut future flooding across Barnet


An existing SuDS scheme in Barnet, the wetland area created by Barnet Council in Silkstream Park, Burnt Oak

An existing SuDS scheme in Barnet, the wetland area created by Barnet Council in Silkstream Park, Burnt Oak

Barnet’s Cabinet Members voted last night (Tuesday 16 January) to approve a new sustainable drainage and flood defence strategy aimed at reducing future flood risks in the borough.

The strategy encourages building developers to include sustainable flood defence practices in their design plans, such as installing rainwater harvesting and water butts. Natural methods such as planting trees and shrubs to absorb excess rainwater can also prevent the flooding of streets and houses in urban areas.

The Sustainable Drainage Strategy (SuDS) states that developers should consider implementing SuDs in all developments – no matter how large or small. The strategy has been drafted to avert the threat of flooding caused by a growing borough population, which will add pressure to the current drainage measures in place.

The strategy provides technical guidance to developers for when they are designing SuDs, and outlined what requirements need to be met by them at the different stages of the planning application.

Cllr Alan Schneiderman, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change, said: “Our borough is growing, and it’s important we make sure we’re ready for that growth and the impacts of climate change. SuDS are a natural way of cutting the risk of flooding in the borough while reducing pollution, improving biodiversity and creating new recreation spaces for our residents. We have already implemented some SuDS schemes and this strategy will help us to continue creating a Barnet that’s fit for the future and resilient for years to come.”

Implementing sustainable drainage practices will relieve the burden on the underground drainage pipes that will come under increasing pressure as the borough grows.

The strategy adopts a long-term program for the delivery of SuDS on Barnet’s highway network. It sets out how flood risk in existing locations within the borough can be reduced by using SuDS, including the installation of ponds or wetlands to absorb overflowing water from rivers, brooks and surface water runoff.

The council has identified 38 locations that are ‘very suitable’ for such large sustainable urban drainage systems, with a further 507 identified based on predicted risk of flooding. These locations can be seen on Barnet Highway SuDS opportunity map.

An existing example of a SuDS scheme in Barnet is the wetland area created in Silkstream Park, Burnt Oak. The space – which fills with water when the Silk Stream Brook overflows – was installed as part of the council’s £5million regeneration of the park and neighbouring Montrose Playing Fields.

More details on SuDs in Barnet can be can be found here: Surface water management and Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).