London skyline from Primrose Hill

Autumn: Leaves & Flooding

04 November 2016

Autumn is well and truly upon us. Pumpkin-spiced everything, football season in full flow and new TV shows to binge-watch. However, autumn also means large volumes of dead leaves fall from trees onto footpaths and roads.

Even moderate rainfall can be enough to wash them into/ on top of drains, gutters and gullies. This reduces the ability for water to drain away and increases the risk of localised ‘surface water flooding’.

Local authorities, water companies and the Environment Agency all have regular programmes to help keep drainage networks free from obstructions.

You can also play an important role in monitoring local surface drainage, which is especially important with the combination of fallen leaves and increased rainfall at this time of year.

Four simple things you can do:

  • Check your gutters and downspouts – they may have become blocked and could cause leaks or damage
  • If safe to do so, you can try to remove obstructions from roadside drains yourself. For example, scoop leaves covering a drain and put them in a green waste bin (the advice is not to add them to compost because oil or other chemicals may have been washed onto them from the road).
  • If you’re unable to remove an obstruction report it to your local council so they can get someone on the case.
  • And remember not to put things down the drain that don’t belong there. Follow the bin it, don’t block it advice from Thames Water.

Find out more about surface water including other steps you can take to reduce your risk. We're working with other organisations in London to help boost awareness of flood risk as part of the Environment Agency #FloodAware campaign.

With Bonfire Night tomorrow, we’re joining London Fire Brigade and encouraging you to attend an organised fireworks display – it’s always much safer!

If you’re travelling in Central London tomorrow be aware that some areas may be busier than usual and there may be road closures to accommodate a protest. Find out more information in this blog from the Metropolitan Police.

Matt, London Resilience Officer