80 hectares of land, the equivalent of more than 100 football pitches, has been transformed into woodland by Enfield Council, using natural solutions to reduce the risk of flooding.
The new woodlands are situated on an area that was previously grasslands and now boasts 50 rural ponds. The Enfield Chase Woodland Creation area includes ponds fitted with sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), which encourage a natural water filtering process, using non plastic materials and allowing the soil to soak up and hold more water. This reduces the risk of surface water flooding and protects hundreds of peoples’ homes in the neighbourhoods located in downstream urban areas, such as Edmonton.
The project is part of the borough’s natural flood management initiative which has seen Enfield restore local biodiversity and river habitats to defend homes and buildings from being damaged by flooding.
Alongside this, the borough has brought new wildlife into the borough as a method of flood management, including the introduction of beavers who can create beaver dams across flood prone rivers. As part of the Council’s Climate Action Plan and Blue and Green Strategy, they are also trialling the use of conservation grazing to manage the land to support flood reduction.
In July 2021, London experienced intense rainstorms that overwhelmed drainage systems and led to extensive surface water and sewer flooding, affecting homes, businesses, hospitals and the transport network.
London boroughs have responded with innovative flood alleviation measures, ranging from establishing raingardens to absorb rainwater, creating climate resilient schools while transforming school playgrounds to improve their resilience to flooding and heat stress, and removing paving from streets where possible to creating new wetlands.
Boroughs have initiated and are active participants of the London Surface Water Strategic Group (LSWSG) which was established following the severe floods of July 2021. LSWSG is made up of different Risk Management Authorities operating in London alongside other partners, collaborating with a renewed focus and energy to address surface water challenges at a pan-London level.
Cllr Rick Jewell, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said:
“Enfield is committed to finding proactive solutions to be ready for flooding challenges when they arise in the borough. The rewilding flood management project will bolster the natural wetland ecosystem not only providing flood defences but encouraging local biodiversity to grow and thrive.
“The impacts of climate change are being felt across the capital, with severe weather events becoming more frequent. Projects such as Enfield’s natural flood management have allowed us to mitigate the impacts of such extreme flooding when it does occur, and we are working to reduce the effect on our residents. We are innovating to trial new approaches to managing flooding, all while creating green spaces within the borough for our communities to enjoy.”
London boroughs are pioneering green solutions that make a real difference in their local communities. Each London borough has a local Climate Action Plan setting out how they will meet their climate targets and deliver a just transition for their communities.
They are also working together via the London Councils’ Climate Programme to establish a green and resilient future for London and its residents. This work will help London become environmentally, socially and economically resilient to the changing climate, in a way that safeguards and enhances green and blue infrastructure and ensures that they are equally accessible to all.
Notes to editors:
1) One hectare is roughly equivalent to 1.4 football pitches.
2) For more information on the London Surface Water Strategy please click this link.