Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, explained: “Keeping Hampshire moving so people can get safely to work, school and college every day, whatever the weather, is vitally important. Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and trying to keep surface water off Hampshire's 5,500 miles of road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways preventive maintenance work throughout the year.”
Alongside the annual roadside ditch clearing programme and routine maintenance work on Hampshire’s gullies and catchpits, there is a programme of planned improvements to highways surface water drainage systems to make Hampshire’s road network more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
This has seen an investment of £156,000 since April this year, allowing the completion of eight important highways drainage schemes to help reduce the risk of localised flooding. Additionally, Hampshire Highways teams have embarked on a programme to clear and clean all intercepting ‘grips’ on the rural highway network.
Grips generally run between the road and adjacent ditch and help prevent surface water from ponding on the road. A further £300,000 has been spent cleaning pipes and culverts, removing debris and silt, to ensure the free flow of water.
Each year, around £2 million is earmarked for maintaining 900 kilometres of highway drains and roadside gullies, but there are many gullies and watercourses on private land which can become blocked without regular maintenance. These blockages can lead to flooding on local roads after heavy rainfall.
Councillor Humby continued: “Flooding is a difficult problem which will become increasingly challenging with the predicted greater likelihood of more intense storms and rainfall. However there is a lot we can all do to reduce the incidence of flooding in local communities and the County Council will do what it can on Highways drainage. I’d also ask residents and landowners to make sure ditches and drains on their land are kept clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris and water can run freely through them, as this will complement our work and ensure that, collectively, we have done everything we can to reduce, or in many cases eliminate, the risk of local flooding.”
For more information on the work Hampshire County Council carries out in the fight against flooding, and how you can be prepared, visit: https://www.hants.gov.uk/community/emergencyplanning/whattoplanfor/floodingadvice