One of the contributory factors to flooding after the rains is the efficiency of the road drains/gullies to remove it.
These are the responsibility of Kent County Council (KCC) who have over 250,000 highway drains to maintain. The KCC approach is published on their website and is briefly summarised as follows:-
- Yearly inspections and cleansing of roadside drains throughout our key routes that link towns and villages.
- Twice yearly cleansing of roadside drains most vulnerable to flooding – which are identified using enquiry data from historic reports from the public.
- If a highway drain is not on the planned programme, it is maintained in response to reports of flooding from the public. We aim to carry out non-emergency drainage cleansing in 28 days, but during extreme weather or busy times following flooding it can take longer to attend.
- If flooding from the highway is causing internal property flooding or making the highway impassable for users, then we will attend as an emergency within 2 hours where possible. During extreme events of flash flooding this is unfortunately not always practicable.
From the top of the hills on the three roads leading into Hamstreet we have 364 of these drains/gullies throughout the village.
Of these 101 have been reported as blocked (28% !! ). KCC will be inspecting and unblocking them in due course.
We have asked for details of the previous inspections and history – no doubt this will be exciting reading in the future.
Under common law a property or landowner is the ‘riparian owner’ of any watercourse within or adjacent to that property. A document from KCC explaining more is at Riparian Owner Responsibilities
Better news :-
The Environment Agency (EA) has already done some trimming of overhanging trees and are planning to dredge from the Chocolate Box (the three houses now known as ‘The Quinces’) to the Canal by the end of February.