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Minister announces funding to reduce flood risk on visit to Sutton

A community project to reduce flood risk to 112 homes and businesses has been awarded £50,000 in government funding, it was announced by government floods minister Thérèse Coffey on a visit to Sutton.

Sutton Council has joined the South East Rivers Trust (which includes the Wandle Trust) to develop Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) initiatives. This will see natural measures such as rain gardens and tree planting to absorb rainfall and reduce surface water flooding introduced at six schools, Carshalton College and at the council offices in Denmark Road.

School children will be involved in the design of each site and the gardens will be used as education tools to encourage the local community to take their own steps to manage flood risk.

The scheme is one of 58 projects across England to get a share of £15 million of Government funding for natural flood management which was announced by the Minister on Friday (July 14) at Muschamp Primary School in Carshalton.

Announcing the funding, Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This funding will help more than 50 projects around the country take full advantage of innovative natural flood management measures. Flood defence technology and engineering is better than ever and by using a mix of natural and concrete defences, we can provide the best flood protection for individual areas.

“Methods such as restoring floodplains and planting trees will not only help protect families, homes and businesses from flooding, they will also bring environmental benefits to the wider area and all the people who live in these many communities.”

Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council said: “It was an honour to welcome the Minister to Sutton and we are delighted to be one of the areas chosen to receive a share of this funding. The River Wandle flows through Sutton and we are keen to look at ways to reduce future flooding events.

“This money will not only help us introduce further measures to reduce surface water flooding, but also help to educate children on the risks of flooding and how we can better manage it.”

Dr Bella Davies, Director of South East Rivers Trust, said: “Urban development has led to an increase in hardstanding surfaces which prevent rainwater from draining into the ground and can cause surface water flooding.

“The ‘SuDS in Sutton’s Schools’ project will create natural flood management features such as rain gardens to disconnect over 4.5 ha of hard surfaces from the surface water drainage system. This will reduce the amount of rainwater flowing into the River Wandle during a storm and reduce the risk of flooding to properties downstream.

“We are delighted to be awarded this funding towards the project and look forward to working with Sutton Council and the schools to make a real difference to the local community. We hope that through the project we can inspire and help the community to build their own rain gardens and natural flood management features which capture the rain water running off their properties.”

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “Natural flood management is an important part of our approach, alongside traditional flood defences and helping homeowners to improve their own property resilience. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to flooding and this scheme is a fantastic example of how we can use a variety of measures that work together to reduce flood risk.”

Natural flood management involves restoring the natural function of catchments, rivers, floodplains and coasts. This can include methods such as restoring floodplains, creating wetlands, planting trees and using sand or shingle to protect the coast.

The government’s natural flood management drive builds on the 1,500 flood schemes the Environment Agency is already building across the country to better protect more than 300,000 homes by 2021.

Notes to editors:

  •      The Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in Sutton’s schools is a partnership initiative between the London Borough of Sutton, the Environment Agency, and the South East Rivers Trust (formerly the Wandle Trust).
  •      The first sustainable drainage system will be installed at the council building by the end of 2018.
  •  In addition to the announced funding, the project will be funded with contributions from the Thames Restoration Fund, SES Water, Local Levy and Flood Grant in Aid.