'Cleaning gulleys in old drainage system could have worsened flood,' council claims

Griselda Konti's home in South Hornchurch was flooded with sewage and rain water, they bought their

August: Griselda Konti's home in South Hornchurch was flooded with sewage and rainwater after torrential rain. - Credit: Griselda Konti

About 25,000 gulleys around Havering are set to be cleaned by Christmas, despite assertions by a council officer that clearing drains in an "old" system could have worsened recent flooding.

Havering Council's environment overview and scrutiny committee spoke of the plans at a meeting on September 8.

It also heard from interim director of public realm Nicolina Cooper, who said the real issue was the borough’s “really old” drainage system,

She was answering questions from councillors who asked if gullies being blocked by dirt and rubbish had exacerbated the flash flooding this summer.

Gooshays councillor Carole Beth said residents in her ward reported the gullies had not been cleaned “for years”, adding: “One of the drains has got a number plate stuck in there.”

Gulley cleaning is carried out on the council’s behalf by contractor Marlborough Surfacing Limited, and 6,000 have reportedly already been cleared.

Its contract was recently extended for two years, despite allegations of “performance failings” made at an overview and scrutiny board meeting in May.


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Ms Cooper told councillors: “I appreciate people are extremely upset but we have really old drainage that can’t cope with the capacity of a month’s rainfall in one hour.

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