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Thames Water - Flooding update/Response to Scrutiny Review

Minutes:

Councillor Claudia Webbe, Executive Member Environment and Transport, together with Kevin O’Leary and Karen Agbabakia, Environment and Regeneration Department

 

Representatives of Thames Water were also present

 

A copy of a report on the work taking place in respect of the Thames Water funding for works to Camden Passage was laid round, and Kevin O’Leary made a presentation to the Committee (copy interleaved)

 

The Chair also welcomed former Councillor Richard Greening, who chaired the PPS Committee during the Flooding Scrutiny Review

 

The Chair stated that Angel BID had asked for it to be placed on record their thanks for the work taking place between Thames Water and the relevant E&R team on the Angel Community Fund project works

 

During consideration of the report the following main points were made –

 

·         The report was a response from the Executive Member in relation to progress on the recommendations of the scrutiny review in relation to the Upper Street flooding scrutiny and the work in progressing the recommendations in the report was presented to Members

·         Thames Water stated that lessons had been learnt following the flood in Upper Street in how to respond more effectively to such incidents in future. The recent flood in Offord Road had been dealt with in a much better manner

·         It had to be recognised that the existing Victorian pipework is ageing and is more prone to bursts, however there is now more monitoring of the networks

·         Thames Water added that 7% of the network was being monitored at present, and Thames Water next submission to OFWAT proposed significant increased investment, together with a commitment not to raise customers bill. A response is awaited from OFWAT

·         Thames Water has now created a rapid response team, which has a number of staff employed through the night, and staff had attended the Offord Road flood in Ihr. 20 mins, in the peak of the rush hour

·         Thames Water used third party suppliers to provide water for customers affected by flooding, and more staff were being provided to assist customers on site

·         Thames Water had also purchased flood defence vehicles, which are designed to divert water into channels and away from danger, and further work would take place in future

·         Councillor Jeapes made reference was made to recent work that had taken place at New River Walk and that there needed to be more communication from Thames Water and the Council’s streetworks team. Councillor Jeapes stated that she would e mail details to Thames Water for them to investigate this

·         In response to a question it was stated that Thames Water aimed to monitor 25% of the network by 2025, and that this would require a lot of investment, and that considerable investment had already been made since the Angel flood

·         It was stated that no guarantees could be given that a major flood would not occur again, however innovation and monitoring is improving and Thames Water had put in place a faster response service when a flood occurs

·         Lessons had been learnt from the Angel flood, and that better methods of pipework, valves and reduction in pressure were being used, however the power of water is so destructive where a burst occurs there can be significant damage done. Significant work on communications has been carried out by Thames Water to provide information to customers, where a burst occurs

·         Thames Water expressed the view that significant improvements had been made to customer service in the past 5 years, and that lessons had been learnt, but there is still more to be done. London has a different network structure to the rest of the country that presents challenges

·         In response to a question as to life of the replacement plastic pipework that has been put in place, it was stated that Thames Water would provide this information

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the report be noted and that Thames Water be requested to attend a meeting of the Committee in February 2020 to update the Committee on progress and the results of the 5 year investment plan being considered by OFWAT

(b)   That Thames Water inform Members of the estimated replacement life of the plastic pipework that has been installed to replace the ageing cast iron Victorian pipework in the Borough

 

The Chair thanked Thames Water, Councillor Webbe and officers for attending

Supporting documents: