The Environment Agency (EA) is a non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), responsible for protecting the environment and responding to pollution and flood incidents. Alongside Thames Water, they were responsible for cleaning the oil spill from the Beverley Brook last year. The EA provide resources where you can sign up, free of charge, to be alerted of flooding and flood risk on the River Thames and the Beverley Brook.
Being armed with this information can help prepare (with short notice) for potential flood risk events in our area, writes our Flood Resilience Project Manager, Tarun Ingvorsen. Alongside being prepared, it is also important to remember to stay out of flood water, whether it’s on the street or in parks or meadows. Whilst it may look inviting to play, splash and enjoy the high amounts of water, it has the ability to spread toxic chemicals, disease and illness. This is due to a variety of factors: outdated Victorian plumbing, misconnections — where a wastewater sewer has been deliberately or accidentally connected to a surface water drain, so that untreated sewage enters a watercourse — road run-off and dumped waste.
This is not something to be taken lightly: polluted rivers are a hotbed of antibiotic resistant bacteria, and members of BCL staff have become unwell from wading in the polluted Beverley Brook. After all, high water levels can take life very easily – a small dog was swept away by the rain-swollen brook recently.
With all of this said, we should not be scared of the Beverley Brook, or of flooding (in the right places). We must learn to live alongside it and understand that there are small things we can do to ensure we are prepared for high water levels and to help reduce the amount of pollution entering the brook, which we will discuss in our next post.
Here is our previous post, How To Be More Flood Resilient In Barnes.