How can we deal with the increased risk of flooding?

Unpredictable and extreme weather conditions have increased in recent years, both in the UK and around the world, largely as a result of climate change. More severe flooding has now become a more regular occurrence in the UK. As such, the government and developers are taking extra precautions to ensure that new developments are well prepared for dealing with these events.

Between 2015 and 2021, the Environment Agency will be investing £2.6 billion on flood management and coastal erosion projects in the UK. Alongside this, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched numerous programmes to improve the UK’s environmental sustainability. It is clear that flooding is a national issue that requires significant efforts to mitigate.

New developments are being encouraged to consider flood prevention and mitigation measures from the very beginning. At Mayfields, we have incorporated flood prevention into our design from the ground up to protect the development and the surrounding countryside. Our designs include comprehensive Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, often referred to as SUDS, which store water on site during periods of heavy rain and release it slowly back into local watercourses at rates that are at – or usually below – those which would be seen if the site were still a green field.

Roads, buildings and other parts of the development are designed so that where possible, water drains into natural receptacles, such as ponds, rather than into drains which lead to the closest river. In practice, this means that existing rivers can maintain their natural course and appearance without environmentally damaging and visually unattractive ‘traditional’ flood defences. Old fashioned flood defences frequently just push the problem downstream, which has proven to be a serious issue in many existing UK towns; a SUDSs approach will avoid this. So alongside protecting homes from flooding, our approach has the added advantage of protecting wildlife in the area.

No development will be located in areas that have an identified risk of flooding. The nature and size of the site means we don’t need to compromise on this principle.
The development will also reduce flooding in other ways. Most of the site is currently occupied by intensive agricultural land. Crops like maize lead to far more surface runoff water than would be the case in the natural environment. Mayfields will include generous provisions of hedgerows, trees and other green areas which act as a natural barrier to flooding, especially compared to farmed land.

Furthermore, intensive agricultural regimes often require the use of nutrients and fertilisers which make their way into local watercourses. Mayfields would reduce this cause of pollution and the SUDS approach will include additional water quality measures to remove oils, pollution and silt before they enter the watercourses.

As flooding and extreme weather conditions have become more common, we as a society have to rethink how we do things. At Mayfields, we have taken the warnings of extreme weather and flood risks right to the heart of our development, designing it from the ground up to be sustainable.

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