In past years, Rocks Lane has flooded every year between the traffic lights on Common Road and the approach to Barnes Station. This year, however, practical steps have been taken to stop this flooding as a direct result of a project carried out by local volunteers and funded by the Environment Agency.
The annual flooding was caused by rainwater collecting in the lower sections of Rocks Lane following heavy rainfall events. This floodwater could not drain away effectively because the drains and gully pots along the side of the road filled up with leaves and rubbish during storms. Some of the drains were also partially crushed by the weight of passing vehicles. We looked for a nature-based solution to take the floodwater away from the road and into trenches filled with gravel that drain onto the edge of Barnes Common.
Local volunteers, including a team of 10 intrepid Duke of Edinburgh volunteers spent the best part of the week before Christmas, filling the trenches with gravel and stones so that the water can filter slowly into the ground at the edge of Barnes Common. Trapped rubbish and dirt can be easily removed from the trenches. This simple, nature-based solution has removed the risk of flooding on Rocks Lane for the foreseeable future.
The project is part of a suite of flood resilience projects devised by Community Bluescapes, which is a partnership between Richmond Council, Barnes Common Ltd and WWT. Community Bluescapes aims to raise awareness of potential flooding in the lower reaches of the Beverley Brook, which runs through Richmond Park, East Sheen and Barnes before entering the River Thames near Putney.
The area is a natural flood plain and it is important that the local community is aware of the flood risk and of ways in which we can introduce sustainable urban water drainage systems that can reduce the risk of localised inundations. Find out more about the Community Bluescapes project on their website.
This project is funded by Defra as part of the £200 million Flood and Coastal Innovation Programmes which is managed by the Environment Agency. The programmes will drive innovation in flood and coastal resilience and adaptation to a changing climate.