Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Council will not yet commit to more drain-cleaning after flooding

Waltham Forest Council will not yet commit to cleaning street drains more regularly, despite some residents arguing blocked drains made this summer’s [...]

Hero for Council will not yet commit to more drain-cleaning after flooding
Plants growing out of a blocked street drain on Milton Road
By Waltham Forest Echo 21 September 2021

Waltham Forest Council will not yet commit to cleaning street drains more regularly, despite some residents arguing blocked drains made this summer’s flooding worse

On 25th July, torrential rain hit the borough – pouring into homes, turning the streets into rivers and forcing Whipps Cross Hospital to send emergencies elsewhere after its basement flooded.

Since then, numerous residents have tweeted photos of blocked street drains – or gullies – to the council, calling on them to clean them more than once or twice a year.

In a recent interview with the Echo, however, newly-elected council leader Grace Williams said the council would only do this if a review into the causes of the flood showed it was needed.

She said: “I know it was frightening for people how quickly it happened and how many places in the borough were flooded. It’s a good example of where climate change is happening now. 

“We will do a proper review on that flood and look into the causes. Some of it will be to do with heavy rainfall but, if we do need to change our drain cleaning, then we will.

“But we need to make sure we have a proper process. It would be wrong to pre-empt what will come out of that review.”

Areas of the borough deemed to be at a high risk of flooding have their drains cleaned twice a year, while other drains are cleaned once annually.

Cllr Williams added that she has spoken to “many residents” in Brooke Road, one of the worst hit by the flood, “who said that it was not that the gullies were blocked”.

However, Sue Moore and Dennis Brown of Brooke Road, told the Echo they had noticed the gullies were cleared less regularly, arguing the council “now don’t do it until it’s too late”.