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Where's the sense in block paving?

In 'SUDS Filter Through' (NCE New Concrete Engineering supplement 25 October) John Howe promotes the use of permeable block paving under the SUDS banner.

The concept is fine, but just where is the common-sense on its long-term practicality? Block paving in itself will not provide a permeable surface if there is not a permeable route provided beneath and, even if there is, how is the permeability of the surface of the paving maintained after the first few months – regular vacuum cleaning?

From a different angle I wonder what area of permeable block paving was submerged beneath land drainage flood waters in the flooding this year. The concept is sound, but we have not thought it through.In "Focusing on pipes",

Andy Goring then argues for significant increases in the piped-flow capacity in urban areas. I have little doubt that increases in the capacity of the various sewerage systems are required, but that will not deal with many of the flooding incidents that occurred this summer.

In probably the majority of cases the floodwaters came from open land and then inundated "their" flood plains on which we have, and still are building, our homes and business premises.

We are collectively failing the population at large. They deserve better.

STUART DERWENT (M),
19 Withdean Crescent, Brighton
BN1 6WG

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