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Thames launches £20M SuDS drive

Thames Water has revealed plans to invest £20M over the next five years in sustainable drainage initiatives, as part of a campaign for better management of surface water in urban areas.

Over the next five years, the Twenty 4 Twenty initiative will see at least 20 hectares of hard, impermeable surfaces – an area equivalent to 30 football pitches – transformed into sustainable drainage projects, slowing rain water down before it enters the sewers or letting it drain away naturally into the ground. 

The campaign will focus on communities served by combined sewers, where easing pressure on the sewer network will help reduce the risk of sewer flooding and pollution following heavy rainfall.

Areas dominated by concrete and asphalt will be turned into rain gardens and natural drainage areas and concrete pathways will be replaced with permeable paving, able to allow water to filter through and soak away into the ground or enter the sewer network much more slowly.

While preparing the new campaign, Thames Water wrote to all 33 London boroughs for information about SUDS projects that are already being developed across the capital. The company is also keen to work with the Mayor of London, the Environment Agency, business and not-for-profit organisations.

At the launch of London’s Sustainable Drainage Action Plan today (Thursday October 29) Thames Water director Richard Aylard said: “We work really hard to make sure our sewers are as empty as possible whenever heavy rain is expected but it’s important we also look at how to reduce surface water getting into them in the first place.

“We’ve set aside £20m to help support new and exciting sustainable drainage projects across our patch over the next five years.  Our aim is to help create at least 20 hectares, equivalent to about 30 football pitches, of green infrastructure to capture rainwater by 2020.”

The initiative is part of Thames Water's long-term programme to help reduce the strain on the sewerage network as the population grows, towns and cities become more urbanised and the climate changes.

Previous SuDS schemes that Thames Water has been involved in have included the award-winning Dulwich Park scheme which it funded in partnership with Southwark Council. The project was completed in 2014 and has reduced the risk of sewer flooding at more than 100 properties in the area.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Flooding & Urban Drainage
Tags: Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS) , Thames Water , sewers

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