Multi-Million Pound Scheme Put In Place To Protect Hundreds Of Homes And Businesses From Flood Damage

Home and business owners in Dulwich and Herne Hill can breathe a sigh of relief, as they will now be a lot safer from the risk of flood damage. The £4.2 million scheme has been put in place to protect them from both surface and sewer flooding, which affected the area in 1984, 2004 and 2007.

Effects Of Flooding

The scheme provides the whole area with a sense of security now that they no longer have to worry about flooding. Dulwich and Herne Hill have both experienced floods that have affected the community in a big way.

The damage to homes and businesses can be very hard to recover from. Short-term, flooding also affects the local economy, because it forces businesses to close and prevents customers from visiting the area. In the longer-term, flooding also damages public spaces and roads which reduces the appearance and appeal of the area.

We have the knowledge and technology to prevent sewer flooding, the problem is usually a lack of funding. Recent flooding events in the UK has prompted an increase in funding to improve flood protection and drainage.

Wastewater from the sewers not only creates a horrible smell, but also because a lot of the flooding happen in park areas it leads to grass being badly damaged.  Public spaces that are flooded will need repairing, and when flooded by sewage they will need cleaning to make it safe for the public to enjoy.

Maintaining The Area

Although the area has gone through a number of changes it has been noted that Dulwich has historical importance, so the scheme has avoided altering it wherever possible.

Maintaining the horticulture of the park is essential, as well as respecting the wildlife habits. The installation of the flood barriers was bound to change the overall look of the park, but that has been softened with the use of wildflowers and plants for a more natural look. The careful planning of all three organisations has maintained as much of the originality of the park as possible whilst still making the changes necessary.


Southwark Council, Thames Water and The Environment Agency have all funded the scheme, making it the first in London to be funded by a partnership approach. A Sustainable Drainage System has been created from innovative work and techniques from all three organisations. Belair Park, Dulwich Park and Dulwich Sports Ground helped during the consultation process to make sure that the right measures were taken to make the project a success.

Measures such as:

  • Increasing the storage capacity of existing lakes
  • Building barriers to contain or redirect water to lakes and ponds
  • Construction of belowground areas to store water, which will be gradually released back into the sewers to prevent flooding.

The good planning and teamwork by everyone involved has shown that even ideas as innovative as these can be achieved. Now that the Dulwich and Herne Hill area has a defence against flooding it will not only protect people’s homes and businesses, but it will also keep the surrounding parks safe and in good condition.

The teamwork of all three organisations has proved to be successful in creating something so innovative in an area that needed protecting from flooding.

You can learn more about the Dulwich flood alleviation scheme on the Southwark Council website. In April, the Herne Hill Flood Alleviation Scheme was shortlisted by the Institute of Civil Engineers, which celebrates outstanding engineering achievement in London.

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