FLOOD ALLEVIATION

AIM

We are supporting the Environment Agency in its work exploring an integrated solution to reduce the risk of river and surface water flooding in Leatherhead and Fetcham working in partnership with Surrey County Council, Thames Water and Sutton and East Surrey Water.

Photo of River Mole showing the bridge carrying Waterway Rd.

OVERVIEW FROM THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

BACKROUND

Significant flooding occurred in Leatherhead and Fetcham in 1947, 1960, 1968, 1974, 1990, 2000, 2008 and most recently during the winter of 2013/2014.

All of these floods had a major impact – damage to property, disruption to business, distress and upheaval to people’s lives, and the continued threat of another flood. The Environment Agency have therefore been working to identify and implement ways to reduce flood risk in the catchment.

A temporary flood defence deployment plan was developed to protect homes and businesses at risk in Minchin Close and Emlyn Lane.  This was successfully deployed for the first time in Leatherhead in December 2019.

The current workstream is looking at the risk to Leatherhead and Fetcham from river and surface water flooding.

Environment Agency testing temporary flood defences
Environment Agency testing temporary flood defences

OPTIONS FOR REDUCING FLOODING TESTED

20 options for reducing both river and surface water flood risk were assessed. These options were identified in partnership with Surrey County Council, Mole Valley District Council and Thames Water. They were shared with the Leatherhead and Fetcham Flood Action Group. The Environment Agency  assessed these options technically, financially and environmentally to see which ones had the potential for further consideration.

The preferred way forward to reduce the impacts of both river and surface water flooding in this area is a property level flood resilience scheme. Property level flood resilience offers more benefits to properties than the other options considered and had the highest scoring cost benefit ratio. 

WHAT IS PROPERTY LEVEL FLOOD RESILIENCE?

A variety of measures can be used to manage flood risk. Resistance measures help stop flood water getting into a property. These include permanent flood doors, removable flood barriers and airbrick covers. Resilience measures help minimise the damage flood water can cause, these include tiled floors and raised plug sockets.

170 residential properties in Leatherhead and Fetcham have been identified as eligible. The aim of these measures is to minimise the impacts of flooding and significantly reduce the time and cost of restoring the property after a flood event.

As property resilience projects are simpler than large civil engineering works, the Environment Agency will be able to start putting these measures in place quickly. Consequently residents will reap the benefits of the scheme much more quickly.

PROGRESS

  • Letters were sent to the 170 eligible to explain in more detail how the scheme would work.
  • Exhibitions and drop-in sessions during 2019 for residents to attend to understand more about the scheme and answer any questions.
  • Respondent’s homes were surveyed in late 2019 to assess what measures were necessary.
  • Reports sent to the Environment Agency and property owner.

NEXT STEPS

  • The property owners will agree the scope of the work with Environment Agency. The Environment Agency expects there will be a cap of approximately £7,500 for resilience measures per property.
  • The Environment Agency will procure the work by competitive tender between three pre-selected contractors, with the aim of starting the work in March 2020.
  • A certificate will be issued to the property owner on satisfactory completion of the work; the certificate is transferable when the property changes ownership.
  • There are indications from FloodRe that insurers will reduce premiums for properties to which flood resilience measures have been implemented.

The Environment Agency are still accepting responses to the offer of property level resilience measures from home owners whose properties are at risk.

For more information, please contact: LeatherheadandFetchamFAS@environment-agency.gov.uk