Thursday 11 May 2017

FOI request for information on Mill Hill flood relief scheme

Yesterday, the Barnet Eye exposed how the Conservative administration of Barnet Council have failed to engage their favourite contractors, Capita, to carry out essential flood relief work, despite numerous sites being identified as being at high risk of flooding, with risk of raw sewage flooding into homes and streets. The Barnet Eye has spoken to public health experts, who detailed various serious public health risks, posed by exposure to raw sewage in urban areas. Last week, we sent an FOI request in to the council. Yesterday we received an acknowledgement of this, with answers promised by 1st June. Here is what we asked.

Dear FOI Barnet

Please provide the following information.

1.       All details of the scheme for a flood relief scheme in the field at the back of Victoria Road, which is part of the St Josephs College Estate.
2.       Details of what public health assessment has been made to ensure that there are no implications for public health.
3.       Details of what steps have been taken to ensure that the scheme will not become an open sewer, given recent reports of building projects using the Silk Stream etc as a waste outlet. 
4.       Details of whether an assessment has been made of the possibility of mosquitos inhabiting scheme and possible risk of mosquito born diseases in the vicinity of housing.
5.       The assessment of risk of flooding etc on houses in Victoria Road.

Roger Tichborne

The Barnet Eye has been informed that the scheme in Victoria Road may take the form of an overspill reservoir, to capture excess surface water. Clearly it is vital that with houses nearby, this is not contaminated with sewage. There have been reports of illegal dwellings built in gardens in the borough using streams and ditches as soiled water outlets. Clearly it is a concern if this contamination finds its way into a sink reservoir. The recent scare about The Zika virus shows the risks of mosquito born illness. Of course, we need such schemes to alleviate flooding as a matter of urgency, however we also need a proper public consultation to ensure residents understand the implications and risks.

Many residents are likely to suffer huge household insurance premium hikes if flooding issues are not addressed. If you are in an affected area, I strongly suggest you find out about these schemes and their impact on your property values. You may find that Council bungling makes your property unsellable if the flooding issues are not addressed or are badly implemented. My concern is that Council bungling and delays will have dire consequences for residents.

It is already clear that issues identified as high risk are not being addressed in a timely manner.

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