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Hull’s flood defence schemes show worth after significant summer rains

Hull’s flood defence schemes have shown their worth once again after no property flooding was reported in the city despite significantly higher-than-average rainfall in recent weeks.

Following the June 2007 floods, which saw more than 9,000 properties in the city damaged, as well as the December 2013 tidal surge, drastic improvements were made in Hull’s approach to flood risk.

This led to the creation of Living With Water, a partnership between Hull City Council, Yorkshire Water, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, the Environment Agency and the University of Hull – all of which are involved in managing water in the region.

An initiative from Living With Water is using Sustainable Drainage Systems, known as SuDS, which help to manage surface water caused by rainfall by acting in a similar way to natural water processes.

When it rains heavily, water runs off hard surfaces, such as buildings, roads and pavements, into drainage and sewer systems, which are sometimes not large enough to cope with this additional influx. 

SuDs are now standard in new development, but this has not always been the case, so the Living With Water initiative involves retrofitting onto existing green or hard surfaces.

SuDS slow the water flow and channel it away from drains and sewers. As well as managing flood risk, SuDS also help reduce pollution and enhance biodiversity.

Examples of SuDS are water butts, rain gardens, wet woodlands, permeable paving and green roofs.

Water butts are an example of SuDS

Larger Flood Alleviation Schemes were also introduced following 2007, which help capture and hold water that previously would have added to the amount of water having to discharge through the city via the sewer system.

These reduce flood risk in areas such as Willerby and Derringham, Cottingham and Orchard Park, Anlaby and East Ella.

July 2023 saw 107mm of rain recorded in Hull, 46mm above the monthly average for the city.

The first week of August, however, saw 62.8mm of rainfall. The average for the whole month of August is just 64.68mm.

Cllr Jack Haines, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for flood management, said that the whole city should be praised for its efforts.

“During this period of poor weather, the investment into flood schemes has helped to prevent Hull from witnessing such devastation as we did in 2007 and later in 2013,” Cllr Haines said.

“Schemes from the council and partners, in particular across the west and north of the city have done their jobs, so far.

“However, without the support of the residents of Hull, who have shown tremendous resilience, none of this would be possible.

“Thank you to those who have been hands-on in making changes to help with flood prevention.

“From planting more flowers and plants to installing their driveways with permeable paving, residents have worked hard to help us adapt to the effects of climate change.”

Find more about the Living With Water scheme here.

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