High housing targets are expected to increase flood risk in Barnet by putting increased pressure on drainage systems, a council report warns.
Pressure to meet the “third highest national housing goal” is leading to “rapid urbanization” and “unprecedented population growth”, compounding the effects of climate change, the report says.
He adds that Barnet Council must protect floodplains and ensure all new development proposals include a ‘robust surface water drainage strategy’.
A government housing formula sets a target to build over 5,300 homes a year in the borough of Barnet, although the council’s new local plan adopts the London plan’s minimum annual target of 2,364 homes.
The report, which was presented to the environment committee on March 8, sets out the council’s responsibilities and progress in addressing flood risk.
It comes after opposition Labor councilors warned overflowing drains and sewers in the borough posed a ‘serious health and safety concern’ and urged council to work with water and sanitation companies other organizations to deal with the problem urgently.
Geoff Mee, the authority’s executive director of environment, told the committee the council had a “very serious problem” in ensuring it kept the drainage systems clear.
He said the council was looking into where its system of 30,000 freeway gullies leads, and further investigation using CCTV cameras was likely to show a “good proportion” had failed.
The council has secured £6million to help reduce the risk of flooding in the Silk Stream catchment area over the next six years.
He also started a program to remove artificial river banks along Burnt Oak Creek in Watling Park. Further flood reduction programs are expected to be implemented at Mill Hill and Muswell Hill over the next few years.
Questioned by councillors, the director of the environment said that a “comprehensive flood risk mitigation plan” for the borough would be presented to the committee by the fall.