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Urban worrier


Your lead letter from Dave Buxcey on flooding fi ascos (NCE last week) and the earlier discussion on blockage of flood screens has rightly drawn attention to the importance of effective maintenance of watercourse and drainage systems. The responsible authorities must keep these in good operating condition.

However, this is not the whole solution. With climate change and creeping urbanisation both contributing to higher runoff from storms, design standards for existing drainage infrastructure will be exceeded more frequently and more flooding will occur.

It is to the government's credit that, following wide consultation, it is now actively promoting a more integrated approach to urban drainage management in the new strategy for flood risk management in England (response to Making space for water consultation, 2005).

This recognition is due in part to the calls from civil engineers to the government to address the complex responsibilities for surface water drainage and to improve the planning framework, particularly for management of surface flooding when the capacity of minor systems is exceeded.

Different approaches will be explored through a series of national pilot projects in urban catchments starting in 2006 and co-ordinated by DEFRA.

Could I suggest that NCE keeps readers informed of the findings?

Dr Mervyn Bramley OBE (F), 9 Beaconsfi eld Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2TS

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