Sutton Council’s fast response to the Wallington flash flood

Sutton Council worked with the Environment Agency, Thames Water and the emergency services to clear the centre of Wallington following the flash flood there on the afternoon of Tuesday 7 June.

An intense thunderstorm at 2pm saw almost one month’s rain (3.5cm or 1.4 inches) fall across the borough in an hour. An average of 4.9cm (1.9 inches) of rain normally falls during the whole of June.

Around 2m (6ft 5 inches) of floodwater quickly filled up the low-lying area near the railway bridge at Manor Road in Wallington town centre and the drivers of three cars needed to be rescued.

Sutton Council’s highways contractor was quickly on site and began to pump and lower the amount of floodwater on Manor Road. The Metropolitan Police closed part of the A237 and a Local Authority Liaison Officer co-ordinated with the emergency services to remove the vehicles and clear up after the flooding.

As a Lead Local Flood Authority, Sutton Council is responsible for managing flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses. The Environment Agency is responsible for flood protection from canals and rivers, and Thames Water is responsible for the drains and sewerage system.

Sutton Council employees have been at Manor Road since Tuesday and all the organisations are continuing to monitor the situation. Plans are in place to identify any ongoing flood risk.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“We experienced almost one month of rainfall in Sutton in less than an hour on Tuesday. In low-lying areas water can temporarily overwhelm the drainage systems, as occurred in this case. The sheer volume of water overwhelmed the drainage infrastructure and road closures became necessary, as our neighbouring boroughs also experienced. In Wallington we have improved drainage by installing new soakaways that are 8m (26.25 ft) deep to help excess water run away. They have been very effective in preventing flooding over recent years despite heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to mitigate for the rare occurrence of Tuesday’s deluge due to the sheer volume of water in a very short space of time. We clean the gullies under the bridge every three months. Manor Road was last cleaned less than two months ago on 14 April. The debris found in the gullies had mainly been washed down in the flash flooding. It is very difficult to mitigate for the rare occurrence of yesterday’s deluge due to the sheer volume of water in a very short space of time. We are continuing to monitor the situation as additional rainfall is expected in the coming days. Should that occur and lead to additional flooding in the Wallington area, arrangements are in place to activate emergency services to support our communities.”

Sutton Council uses a gully tanker to suck all the silt and debris out of the gully pot, clear debris from the grill and then flush the system. The gully pot is checked to ensure it is clean and working efficiently. If a blockage is detected, a water jet is used to try to remove the obstruction and get the gully and connecting drain linking it to the Thames Water main sewer running again.

If unable to get the system working, this is noted on the report sheet. Defects are then reported to the Highways Service so its contractor can be instructed to investigate further and make a repair.

This is part of the three-step maintenance process Sutton Council follows.

Step 1 – Regular cleaning of the gully grill by the Street Cleaner team to ensure water can enter the gully pot.

Step 2 – Regular cleaning of gully pots and connecting drains, either quarterly or once every two years, to ensure the system is free from silt and debris and is functioning.

Step 3 – Repair by the Highways contractor where defects are found.

Soakaways are maintained by the Highways Service.

Sutton residents concerned about flood risk should visit the Environment Agency website for updates, sign up for flood warning updates  or call Agency’s floodline on 0845 988 11880845 988 1188.

Street flooding caused by overflowing drains should be reported to Sutton Council using the Report it feature on the council website or by telephone on 020 8770 5000020 8770 5000.

Message from Tom Brake MP about yesterday’s floods…

Hi Hamish,

As you may be aware, there has been some localised flooding around Carshalton & Wallington after the storm this afternoon.

Sutton Council and the emergency services are working to clear areas badly effected by flooding, including underneath the railway bridge in Wallington (where Woodcote Road and Manor Roads meet). I have also contacted the Council to ask what action they are taking to tackle and prevent flooding.

If your home has been affected, please call Floodline for advice on 03459 881188 or check out this page on the Government website.

As ever, if you require my assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Best wishes,

Tom Brake MP

Action for autumn

Autumn brings an array of colours to our streets. The days get shorter, the nights get longer and leaves fall from trees.

As the weather turns, here are a few ways you can help to keep our neighbourhoods clear and safe:

Clear leaves from the footway. When sweeping your own path PLEASE also sweep leaves from the footway near to where you live. Bags can be obtained by calling the contact centre.

Let us know PLEASE about any faulty street lights.

Edges of your property should be free of overhanging vegetation which may inconvenience pedestrians. Please trim overhanging bushes or hedges back.

Avoid drains becoming blocked. By sweeping leaves you will be helping to keep drains from becoming blocked which causes flooding.

Report any fallen branches, PLEASE.

Sutton’s Action For Everyone

To contact us, use Report It

or telephone the contact centre on: 020 8770 5000.

Carshalton Springs Walk To Be Repeated Twice on Sunday, 9th March 2014 11am and 2pm

REPEATED TWICE on Sunday 9th March 11am and 2pm  (16th February and 2nd March SOLD OUT) Special guided walk to the water features of Carshalton

Make the most of the wet weather and join Sutton Museum Service on a guided walk around the many historic water features of Carshalton Village, which are currently in full flow! Meet outside Honeywood Museum, Honeywood Walk, Carshalton.  Tickets £3.50 (£3 for Heritage Friends). Book in advance from 020 8770 4297.

Please ensure you have sturdy waterproof footwear as some areas will be extremely muddy. As the walk will include a visit to the grounds of Carshalton House, unfortunately we cannot take dogs.


Flooding Update …now over the worst?

The flood alert for the River Wandle is no longer in force and despite the water table being extremely high Sutton has so far avoided the devastating levels of flooding seen in neighbouring boroughs.

Concerned residents should check the Environment Agency website for updates or call their floodline on 0845 988 1188 using quickdial 173813 for up-to-date flooding information.

Sutton Council is continuing to work with partner organisations to monitor local flood risk, respond to issues and clear up storm damage.

36 trees came down in the strong winds on Friday night and further damage was caused to an additional 16 large trees. The council’s environment team is managing the clear up and ensuring that the trees are safe.

The work that Sutton Council and partners Thames Water and the Environment Agency carried out ahead of the storms last week reduced the potential for flooding to affect homes and businesses in Carshalton.

Over the weekend there was some overrun of the Grotto Canal into Carshalton High Street, but the road gullies were able to cope and directed the water away from properties.

The council is still on the ground in Carshalton, and we will continue to work with partners to identify flood risk and avoid flood damage.

If you are worried about flooding then please contact the Environment Agency via:

•   Floodline: 0845 988 1188
•   Twitter: @EnvAgency
•   Website:
•   If, for some reason, you lose power in your home or business premises please contact:
•   UK Power Networks (emergencies and power cuts) on 0800 028 0247 or via Twitter @UKPowerNetworks
•   National Grid (Gas emergency) on 0800 111 999 or via Twitter @nationalgriduk

General advice and information

•   Avoid flood areas and make sure to keep children and pets away
•   Wash your hands thoroughly if you touch flood water as it may be contaminated
•   Basements, cellars, garages and ground floors may be affected
•   Be prepared to protect yourself, family, pets and property
•   Check pumps and any other flood protection equipment you may have
•   Keep a regular eye on local water levels and weather conditions
•   Tune into weather updates, news and travel bulletins on local television and radio
•   Avoid walking, cycling or driving through flood water
•   Be aware that flooding can cause manhole covers to come off


Local authorities do not have a statutory duty to provide sandbags to residents or businesses, however we do hold a stock of sandbags which we will use to protect the most vulnerable residents.

We are working with the Environment Agency, Thames Water and Transport of London to monitor rising water levels and we will prioritise protecting infrastructure such as electrical sub stations or keeping essential access routes open for emergency and essential services.

Householders are encouraged to plan for and put in place their own flood protection and they should contact their local builders’ merchants for stocks of bags and sand. Alternatively, suppliers of modern non-sand bags designed for flooding can be found on the National Flood Forum Blue Pages Directory –

For further information on preparing for flooding, please visit the Environment Agency’s website or call their floodline on 0845 988 1188 using quickdial 173813.

Flood Risk Management

In 2010, the Flood and Water Management Act received Royal Ascent. As a result of this legislation the London Borough of Sutton (‘Sutton Council’) is now a Lead Local Flood Authority. This means that the council is responsible for co-ordinating the management of flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

Carshalton on the water….

Hamish, Jill and Alan have been taking up your concerns about flooding issues. The historic canals in Carshalton Park, Carshalton Place and The Grove Park in Carshalton Village have filled up for the first time in many years. These are tributaries of the River Wandle which rises in Carshalton Park and some other areas. In recent years the water has been underground, but the recent heavy rainfall has led to the waterways filling up again, and they have been flowing in Carshalton Park and Grove Park, and in the canals which link these two parks. Those living close to the canals have said they are worried about overflows and possible flooding of properties, if the wet weather continues.

Carshalton Place canal's waterfall

Carshalton Place canal’s waterfall

In recent weeks, the Council has been working with its partners Thames Water, The Environment  Agency and Transport for London (who are responsible for the A232 Carshalton High Street) to put measures in place to prevent flooding occurring and to reduce the level of water in the canals. As part of this work, a blockage in the sewer under the A232 has been removed and this has also been dredged of silt. Obstacles such as litter and leaves have been removed from the canals, and from drains and sluices in Westcroft Road, Carshalton Place and the “Hog Pit” (the very deep excavation) in Carshalton Park. A divert has also been cut into the Westcroft Canal so that it can drain into a ditch in the Grove Park, with the waters flowing into the canal on the Westcroft Centre side of the Grove Park. As a result water is now flowing freely and water levels have started to reduce.

If you have any concerns please see Sutton Council’s Winter Information Centre website  or contact the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or see their website for local water level information.

More in a future FOCUS and watch out for updates on our web site:

The Hog Pit Pond starts to fill up…. Jill and Hamish inspect Carshalton Waterways

Some photos taken today 9th February 2014 by Hamish of the historic Hog Pit Pond, Carshalton Park, Ruskin Road.

Yesterday some operatives were observed by Hamish and Jill clearing debris from the grilles at the northern end of the Hog Pit pond to ease water flow.  The water table is obviously rising rapidly after the two very wet months of weather. 

Jill and Hamish undertook a tour of the waterways of Carshalton yesterday 8th February 2014 from The Grove Park/Papermill Close area southwards to Carshalton Park via Carshalton High Street and the (normally-dry) canal in Carshalton Place (again operatives from Thames Water were observed dredging and clearing debris in the large drain “outlet” at the junction of Carshalton Place and the side of the new barbers in the High Street) at about 12.30pm yesterday.


Community Services?

Local councillor Jill Whitehead wrote in today’s Sutton Borough Guardian (6th February 2014:-

Alan and Jill planting bulbs (picture taken by Hamish)

Doing their bit:- Alan and Jill planting bulbs (picture taken by Hamish)

Surely Mr. “X” must know that trees are very important to many residents in the borough. Sutton has a larger number of trees than most other London Boroughs and our residents are very proud to live in a green and attractive environment.

As a direct response to residents’ requests, the council is planting 400 new street trees and 200 new blossom trees in parks.

It has also won £43,000 from The Mayor of London’s Trees Fund to plant an additional 200 street trees on top of this, and £3,000 to plant 90 extra trees in Cheam Park.

As Mr. “X” will be aware, we have been experiencing a prolonged and unprecedented period of wet and windy weather, which resulted in later leaf fall than usual following the St Jude’s day storm in October. Each year, the Council deploys additional teams of staff and mechanical sweepers in the autumn and priority is given to streets with a higher number of trees and therefore higher leaf fall.

As the bad weather is still with us, we are continuing to deploy emergency teams to deal with fallen trees and flooding incidents. The Council removed over 60 fallen street trees over the Christmas period, and our staff worked hard to clear roadways and paths.

Priority has been given to health and safety, clearing areas prone to both flooding and heavy footfall, and focusing on areas close to schools, medical centres and residential homes for the elderly. Since 2008 the Council has supplied local residents across the borough with clear plastic sacks, so they can clear and remove leaf fall from outside their property.

This service has grown in popularity with many residents keen to assist the Council and their local community. For the leafing period in 2013, over 3,000 sacks were delivered to 155 properties across the borough.

Many Sutton residents are very eager to help out in their local community and this initiative will only grow and expand in the coming years as people want to help and improve the area where they live.

Instead of complaining Mr. “X”, perhaps you’d like to roll up your sleeves and do your bit? We have more sacks available.

Councillor Jill Whitehead, Sutton Council is Chairman of Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee.

Residents and Carshalton Central ward councillors (and others) bulb planting in Benhill Rec

Residents and Carshalton Central ward councillors (and others) bulb planting in Benhill Rec