The Southwark Liberal Democrats have called for an improved flood risk management strategy to protect against local effects of the climate emergency.
This is the latest in the Southwark Liberal Democrats’ fight for climate resilience and pushing the environment further up the political agenda.
With climate change already contributing to more extreme weather patterns, preparing for everything from flash floods to extreme heat is more important than ever.
As an urban area, Southwark is particularly at risk due to the lack of drainage opportunities the modern built environment provides. Hard surfaces such as asphalt and concrete prevent water draining into the soil causing flooding and overwhelming sewer systems.
The Liberal Democrat response, submitted by Deputy Leader Cllr Rachel Bentley, called for the following commitments from Southwark Council to improve the flood risk management strategy:
- Joined up thinking with how this interacts with other parts of the climate strategy, especially in relation bike lanes where even low-level surface water can prevent safe and comfortable cycling.
- Using planning to put greater pressure on developers to integrate sustainable drainage systems, as well as capturing developer contributions to fund off-site SUDS
- Working proactively with residents, schools, and TRAs to communicate individual level actions to mitigate flood risk, and what to do in an emergency. Southwark has 75% of its residents living in flats (compared to 22% in England), and the strategy should reflect this unique housing stock.
- Council property to use drainage-friendly surfaces where possible, for example using grass instead of astroturf in schools.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Cllr Rachel Bentley said, “A sustainable drainage strategy might sound like a niche topic, but it is essential to how we adapt to the changing climate in an urban context like Southwark, as well as the knock-on effects on travel and nature.
“Together with my Liberal Democrat colleagues, I will hold the council to account to ensure high quality delivery of projects, and encourage robust use of planning to get developers to play their part.
“Our commitment to robust climate action is clear, and our special geography requires urgent adaptation measures to keep the borough and its residents safe.”