Thursday, 20 May 2010

Basement flooding: Thames Water attacked

Our Council has attacked Thames Water's response to the issue of basements all along the Thames bank area of Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush as miserly. The utility has annonced £25 million will be allocated to investments that should stop the horrendous experience for many in our area of waking up to raw sewage flowing into homes.

Speaking at this local meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall two representatives from Thames Water described why this happens. Short summary from me is that ancient sewers get full when it rains, we release into the Thames but even that isn't enough to stop the backlog and it backs up into people's homes. The heart of the matter is that the ancient system we have actually has houses linked directly to the main arterial sewer that flows with waste from much of North London, which is in turn directed under our part of London by the Counters Creek system  just to the north of us. Quick fact about Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush: we have more basement flats than almost anywhere in London - more places to flood very easily.

Bob Collington, Director of Operational Management for Thames Water, said:

"We're desperate to end the misery of sewer flooding, which is a truly horrible experience."

"We have yet to get the approval of our economic regulator Ofwat for building a larger Counter's Creek sewer system, but the £25million of funding we've been allowed by Ofwat for the next five years will enable us to provide a short-term fix for the worst-affected properties while we design the long-term solution."

Around 1,400 properties have suffered sewer flooding in the past six years and studies suggest up to 7,500 properties could be at risk in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

But H&F Council are not impressed. Cllr Nick Botterill, Cabinet Member for the Environment, says this:
It is good news that 600 homes are going to be protected from the hell that is basement sewer flooding. But we want all potentially affected homes to be protected. Thames Water is right to be addressing residents’ concerns but should be concentrating on the affected areas rather than a limited number of homes reported to them on their risk register. In the short-term the harsh reality for many residents is that Thames Water is going to solve less than half the basement flooding problems under their current plan.”

Some residents – especially in Askew Road, Boscombe Road, Greyhound Road and Hammersmith Grove – have seen their basements flooded three of four times since 2004 and Thames Water are still to release details of where the Flooding Local Improvement Projects, FLIPs, will be installed.

Cllr Botterill continues: “It cannot be right that the homes selected for FLIPs will be done on a property to property basis rather than street-by-street. The inconsistent approach from Thames Water will lead to neighbouring properties be treated differently and ultimately some families will be forced to endure the nightmare of basement flooding again just because they we not on the right database.”

1 comment:


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