Camden residents create flood resilience network following heavy rainfall

Flooding on Iverson Road. Photograph: MILAM

Residents are building flood resilience groups to prepare for the next big downpour.

Camden saw heavy rainfall, a knee-deep flash flood at Kings Cross, and flooding on Kilburn High Road as well as on Iverson Road in West Hampstead.

The MILAM (Maygrove, Iverson, Loveridge, Ariel, Medley) residents’ association called for blocked gullies to get cleared to help prevent flooding.

Near Kings Cross, Age UK staff had to clear away ankle-deep flood water from the Great Croft Health and Wellbeing Centre.

“It was a challenging afternoon,” tweeted Age UK’s A Choudhury. “Thanks to my brave team, we managed to clear the water.”

The centre was ready to welcome older residents as usual the following day. It offers a range of activities including gardening, dominoes, indoor bowling, singing and dancing and a dementia care group.

Joan Munro of the South Hampstead Flood Group said this year’s deluge has not been as bad as the severe weather in July 2021 which saw flooding in at least 135 Camden homes.

Mrs Munro said the group has worked closely with the council to draw up plans ahead of a crisis. This included identifying vulnerable residents who might need help.

The group is one of the London pilots with the National Flooding Forum to help develop community responses and share their knowledge with others.

After last year’s floods they commissioned an independent report which suggested ways residents can help protect their properties. They are planning an information event with the National Flooding Forum to show people some of the protective equipment they can buy.

Town hall staff held a meeting to plan its response ahead of the heavy rain after the Met Office issued severe weather warnings.

Last year a Hampstead resident had to be rescued from the window of his flat because of the flood waters.

Mrs Munro said Camden Council staff did clean gullies and delivered sandbags and residents took them to the people likely to need them.

Locally she said “at least 12 gullies were blocked” but this included dry leaves which may have been shed by heatwave stressed trees during the heavy rain.

Volunteers in South Hampstead were out clearing the gullies, which Mrs Munro thinks helped to make a difference.

“we were cleaning them up and we were getting bags of leaves. Local residents can do that, I think it is probably helpful.”

She explained there are 13,000 gullies across Camden so whilst the council inspects and clears them residents could help keep an eye on gullies and clear leaves too – especially if challenging weather is on the way.

The South Hampstead Flood Group has people checking the gullies in each street.

“We are reporting problems – this is something other residents can do,” she said.

Information about flood resilience can be found here.

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