Reducing flood risk in Lambeth

February 27, 2015

floodSign_jpgThis week the Lambeth Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was published online, with hard copies available in all Lambeth libraries.  The strategy provides an overview of what we, as the Lead Local Flood Authority, plan to do to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.

The strategy covers many topics related to flooding in Lambeth and it shows how addressing flooding can have many positive impacts on other environmental problems.  One example is the use of Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS).

SuDS mimic natural drainage and reduce the amount of water entering the sewer system.  SuDS can range from green roofs and walls, to rain gardens and engineered tree pits, which have the ability to store water. In addition to reducing the amount of surface water runoff, SuDs present a number of positive side effects:

  • reducing the urban heat island effects, cooling the street temperature by replacing hard surfaces with plants;
  • reducing air pollution by planting trees and plants;
  • improving water quality;
  • improving biodiversity through planting native and nectar-rich species, encouraging more insects and wildlife to an area;
  • improving the local environment and creating more green spaces;

We been at the forefront of delivering SuDS in London, through Highways and Parks projects and through working with community groups and residents. We are also proud to have worked with the London Wildlife Trust helping to introduce SuDS along the route of the lost River Effra.

SuDS are just one way we can reduce flood risk in the Borough.  For information visit our website and have a look at the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

Rain Garden at Cressingham Gardens Estate

December 2, 2014

Yesterday, I went along to see work begin on what will be Lambeth’s biggest rain garden.

Currently, water from three downpipes on the estate runs on to a grassed area and then makes its way down and out on to Tulse Hill. During heavy rainfall, a significant amount of water flows down to the road. The garden will help to reduce this by retaining the water and allowing it to slowly soak into the soil.

How does a rain garden work?

A diagram of the planned gardens at Cressingham Gardens.

Cressingham - cut through

The first day


1. We started by marking out the areas for digging. There are three sections and each sits directly under a downpipe.


2. We then carefully removed the turf and placed this to one side to be used later on the berms, or garden walls.


3. Once all the turf had been removed, the hard work really started and we began digging out the gardens. We removed a lot of clay which will have added to the current drainage problems. The remaining earth will be mixed with compost to improve drainage and placed back into garden over a layer of gravel.

Despite the very best efforts of staff and volunteers, we didn’t manage to dig out all of the gardens in one day. Work will continue at a later date and a planting session (which will be rather less strenuous!) will be arranged in the near future.

If you would like to get involved in future sessions, please contact Helen Spring at the Lost Effra Project

We’ll keep you up to date with this project and really look forward to seeing the finished gardens.

If you would like to hear about similar projects, please subscribe to this blog, follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our Green Community Champions e-newsletter.




Free green roof workshop – Wednesday 9 October

October 1, 2013

greenroof2-1We recently installed a green roof at Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre and are now inviting residents to attend a free green roof workshop.

Come along to gain a better understanding of:

  • how green roofs work
  • their ecological benefits
  • what sites are suitable
  • whether to choose a green or brown roof
  • what materials you’ll need and timescales
  • potential technical issues e.g. load bearing constraints

The session will be largely classroom based and will be hosted at a venue in Lambeth. To find out more or to book a place, please email

New green roof installed at Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre

July 12, 2013

Green roof at Lambeth Reuse and Recycling CentreAs part of the general improvements at Lambeth’s Reuse and Recycling Centre in Vale Street we have installed a new office unit. The offices are housed within a refurbished portacabin supplied by Eco Modular Buildings. Reusing the unit means that its manufacturing impact and carbon footprint have been minimised and only FSC certified and locally sourced timber have been used in its construction.

The roof of the unit has been fitted with a green sedum roof, which will help to keep the unit cooler in the summer months and warmer in the winter.

Green roofs have many additional benefits:

Biodiversity – They create a natural habitat, encouraging insects, birds and butterflies. This is particularly important in urban areas where much of this habitat has been lost.

Absorption of storm water – They absorb rainfall that would normally run off hard surfaces, reducing the risk of flooding.

Pollution reduction – Plants absorb noise, trap dust, recycle carbon dioxide, and absorb and break down many gaseous pollutants.

Close up of green roof

This is the first of a number of environmental initiatives at Lambeth Reuse and Recycling Centre, a further green roof and a mini wildlife haven are planned for the near future.

Join us at our next green roof workshop

January 30, 2013
Residents building their own green roofs

Residents building their own green roofs

Earlier this month 27 Lambeth residents attended a Small Green Roof workshop in Kennington. The workshop, supported by Lambeth Council, was organised by Urban Wild Project and run by Reset Development aimed to encourage and enable attendees to develop their own green roofs at home and in the wider community.

The day featured presentations and a practical session where residents were able to build a section of a green roof. Attendees also listened to wildlife and bee expert David Perkins of the importance of green roofs in the urban environment for bees and other invertebrates.

What is a green roof and what are the benefits?

Green roofs are partially or wholly covered in vegetation and they can help to:

  • Improve surface water management
  • Increase the variety of wildlife present
  • Reduce heat island effect (where cities are warmer than rural areas due to human activity)
  • Improve insulation

Green roofs can be considered for homes, community and commercial buildings and even your garden shed!

We are planning to organise more workshops for Lambeth residents; so if you would like to find out more, please register your interest by emailing Future workshops will be on building green roofs and related topics such as rain gardens.

We need you to help us produce Lambeth’s Flood Strategy

January 21, 2013

Flooding workshopIt may surprise you to learn that 46,000 households in Lambeth are at risk of surface water flooding in the event of very heavy rainfall – that’s over a third of all households. All Councils are now required to plan for such events and we need you to help us produce Lambeth’s Flood Strategy.

The Strategy must include the following:

  • an assessment of local flood risk in Lambeth
  • what flood risk issues need to be managed
  • how these issues will be managed.

We are also producing a Residents Guide, which will show the flood risk and proposed plans for each Ward. The guide will also include advice on actions you can take to reduce the risk of flooding at home and wider actions to tackle the surface water run-off in general.

To ensure the Strategy and guide are useful to you, we need as much input from you as possible.

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved.

Complete the online survey

It will only take a few minutes to give us your opinions and feedback online.

Attend our workshop

We are holding a workshop on the 31st January 2013 starting at 6.45pm and finishing at 9pm. We need 50 or so residents to come along and help us to develop our plans.

The session will include an introduction to the Strategy and local flood issues; small discussion groups on the proposed plans, an opportunity to feedback on the Residents Guide.

Light refreshments will be provided. If you are interested in attending please email for details.

Email us

If you are interested but cannot attend the workshop, we would still value your input. Please email and we will send you draft documents for your feedback and comments.

For general information on how you can help to reduce the flood risk in Lambeth, please visit our flooding web page.

Depaving comes to Lambeth!

October 16, 2012

We worked with residents of Reedworth Street in Kennington to carry out the UK’s first specifically designed depave.

40% of the paving on the driveways of the two properties was removed and replaced with gravel and soil, creating new areas for planting while still allowing the residents to use the space for parking.

Driveway before depaving










Why depave?

An area equal to that of seven Hyde Parks has been lost to concreted front gardens in London. Depaving allows water to soak back into the ground naturally rather than run-off as it does from concrete. Once the water has soaked through the soil and gravel, it helps to replenish groundwater supplies and can also help to reduce the risk of flooding.

Depaving also contributes to reducing the urban heat island effect and when the depaved area is planted, you will see other benefits such as a reduction in CO2 and airborne pollutants. It also enhances the street scene.

Would you like to depave?

If you are interested in depaving part of your property we can provide advice and help with materials, tools and waste disposal.

We will be promoting depave through Community Freshview, however if you or a group of residents or community group would like to discuss undertaking a depave, please call 020 7926 9000 or email

For more information please visit or see a case study of the work carried out on Reedworth Street.