NF Development Could Cause Ipswich Flooding
Suffolk County Council, the Environment Agency, Anglian Water together with local district and borough councils are producing a new plan to help Suffolk's residents and businesses understand the risk of local flooding. The planís main focus is on local or flash flooding from surface water, groundwater or from streams and ditches. Suffolk County Council has just undertaken a three-month public consultation inviting comments on the new flood risk management plan. Click here for more information.
Barbara Robinson, of Save Our Country Spaces, has pointed out in her submission to the consultation that the surface water from the proposed large-scale development of 4000 homes on the Ipswich Northern Fringe will ultimately drain into the River Gipping via Claydon. Also that there is already a serious risk of flooding in Ipswich from the River Gipping being unable to cope and this will make matters far worse. She says Ď a tidal surge together with flash flooding would overwhelm the town and mitigation measures would overwhelm the villages upstreamí.
The risk of the River Gipping flooding has been recognised in the 'Ipswich Drainage & Flood Defence Policy 2009' section 1.4, which explains "The primary flooding concern associated with the River Gipping in Ipswich will be the ability of the river to flow freely into the River Orwell. Should blockages or mechanical malfunctions of weirs, sluices, or barriers occur or an exceptionally high tide in the River Orwell restrict the passage of water then flooding adjacent to the River Gipping may occur". It should be noted that the proposed Ipswich Tidal Barrier could present such a blockage under exceptional circumstances.
An objective of Suffolk County Council is Ďto prevent increased flood risk as a result of new development by preventing additional water entering existing drainage systems wherever possible.í It is proposed that Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (where waste surface water drains to sumps to soak away) could be used on the Ipswich Northern Fringe to reduce the effect of surface water flowing into the Gipping. This is a very efficient system when used in areas of light free-draining soil, such as that at Ravenswood but questionable when used on clay soil as is the case for the Ipswich Northern Fringe.
Letís hope that Suffolk County Council take Barbara Robinsonís concerns seriously and undertakes detailed risk and impact assessments of surface water drainage prior to any agreement on the development of the Ipswich Northern Fringe.