Harlow MP Robert Halfon and local councillor take Thames Water to task over local flooding

Communities / Fri 5th Jan 2024 at 12:31pm

Churchgate Street back in July

FOLLOWING heavy downpours across Harlow last week, and reports of flash floods, blocked drains and backed up sewers, Harlow’s Member of Parliament, Robert Halfon, and local Councillor, Nicky Purse, have joined forces to take Thames Water to task. 

In May 2023, Harlow suffered significant flash floods following extensive rainfall, with areas like Staple Tye, Newhall and Churchgate Street badly affected. At the time, Robert raised his concerns as a matter of urgency with the Government, the Environment Agency and with Thames Water. 

Heavy rainfall last week has resulted in more flooding across the town. Robert and Cllr Purse are now calling on Thames Water yet again to take the urgent action required to improve the drainage infrastructure across Harlow and prevent flooding and backed up sewers from happening again. 

Commenting on the flooding in Harlow, Robert said, “It has been extremely upsetting to see the photographs of water pouring into homes as a result of the terrible flooding and apparent lack of maintenance of the drainage system. I have been made aware of countless examples of damage and destruction across the constituency, with some residents reporting backed up drains and raw sewage in their homes and gardens. One family told me that they have been flooded over forty times in recent years. 

“I am working with Harlow Council and Cllr Nicky Purse, Harlow Council Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Environment, to support residents. We have requested an urgent meeting with the Chief Executive of Thames Water to hold them to account and ensure they take the action required to prevent further floods in Harlow.

“I would like to thank Cllr Purse for her hard work with Essex Highways and the Environment Agency to tackle this issue, and for her commitment to holding Thames Water to account to deliver more improvements for Harlow residents.”

Calling for more action from Thames Water, Cllr Purse said, “I am ambitious to tackle the flooding and surcharges of wastewater in Harlow that are devastating our streets, greenspaces and homes. Working with Robert Halfon MP, I will take the concerns of residents directly to the CEO of Thames Water to drive much needed action in hotspot areas, like Rivermill, Edinburgh Way and Southern Way. 

“When I was appointed as the Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Environment at Harlow Council in 2021, I immediately called Thames Water and Essex Highways to meetings to ensure they were doing everything within their power to tackle flooding and to protect the environment in Harlow. These meetings continue to take place every eight weeks.

“Until the Conservatives formed an administration at Harlow Council, these meetings never took place. I would like to thank Harlow Council officials and Essex Highways for their support in delivering improvements in a very short space of time. 

“Despite this, I still have concerns about Thames Water. Their routine maintenance of drainage systems and sewers in Harlow has been woefully inadequate for decades, and residents are now paying the price for Thames Water’s previous shortcomings. Our infrastructure can no longer cope with the heavy rainfall we see every year, and I will not stop until Thames Water takes urgent remedial action to address this issue.”

Local residents are reminded of the following helplines where they can report flooding and seek advice in an emergency:

  • In the event of an emergency or where there is a threat to life, dial 999;
  • To report flooding caused by overflowing sewers, call Thames Water on 0800 316 9800;
  • To report flooding from local rivers and waterways, call the Environment Agency on 0345 988 1188;
  • Where flooding is affecting roads and highways, call Essex County Council on 03456 037 631.

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21 Comments for Harlow MP Robert Halfon and local councillor take Thames Water to task over local flooding:

Guy Flegman
2024-01-05 13:13:52

Most of the flooding can be avoided by regular clearing of the rainwater drains and regular clearing of ditches and streams of debris.

Tony Edwards
2024-01-05 14:00:42

I find this post remarkable, who was responsible for the privatisation of utilities such as Water and Sewage? Answer the Conservatives Government! Equally who is responsible for clearing roadside drains? Answer the Conservative County Council!

John C
2024-01-05 15:50:36

Why can I post ? "Passing the buck when it is on your own party to clean the drains... which is the main cause of the flooding... Shameful, but that is the Conservative Party all over.

peter linden
2024-01-05 15:51:48

In the 70s and 80s we always would see these lorry's with big suckers hoovering out the drains where we live in the hornbeams and rivermill area's of harlow... It was always about oct after the leaves had fallen. I haven't seen these lorrys in years in harlow countless drains are blocked. Why are all our services in britain rubbish now? Maybe our MP might have an answer....

2024-01-05 16:13:33

Don't blame the water company Look up at the sky and stop cloud modifications and geo engineering About this country woke up and the media looked after the people

2024-01-05 18:16:55

'apparent lack of maintenance of the drainage system' Rob! - A Tory Government, a Tory County Council, a Tory District Council and a Tory MP - Who is to blame Rob? - The Liberal Urban Elite or maybe the Climate Change Protestors? ------- Chris Skidmore a Tory MP and a Minister in The Department of Education - a bloke with a lot more backbone than you has just resigned - Rather than 'Taking Thames Water to task', why don't you resign?????

Eric Bookbinder
2024-01-05 18:24:18

MP in charge of a town outside of Thames Valley points the finger of blame at everyone except those actually in charge of the town. Makes perfect sense.

Gary Scott
2024-01-05 18:40:13

It's time people woke up they've been fleecing us for years and now come the excuses as voting time come,there all useless, the people who live here need to take back control

2024-01-05 18:41:33

Has anyone looked at the new hospital site? It's in a flooded valley.

James Gamble
2024-01-06 00:00:09

It was a Tory Essex County Council that decided to outsource the drain clearance in Harlow to a private company in the 1999s. Since then I have never seen a gulley sucker in Harlow apart from the HTS ones that only clear drains in garage areas.

Nick Gunning
2024-01-06 07:38:51

As usual, Mr Halfon takes a hint from the newspaper articles and gets the attack in first- but jumping on this bandwagon could prove to be a very bumpy ride: Tory County Council and local party have no-one else to blame. And most of us are not wealthy enough to own private islands or be invited to them in the season....

2024-01-06 08:18:31

Churchgate Street never floods, it's Hobbs X Road and Burnside that suffers the most.

Alderman Durcan
2024-01-06 09:44:15

Election time and blame game. No wonder people are cynical about politics and politicians.

2024-01-06 10:44:04

Let's not clear Drains and dredge rivers so we can make our Climate Change story more believable

Mark Ingall
2024-01-06 12:00:41

Privatised utilities operate to maximise profit, so they cut regular maintenance and slash investment in updating infrastructure to reduce costs. Robert Halfon is a big supporter of privatisation, he shares responsibility for the chaos he is complaining about.

2024-01-06 12:06:27

The water boards all off them put profits over maintenance and every government since they were privatised have done nothing (probably taken there niece fat divs) it will be the Tax payers that that finerly pay when they go bust just something else to blame on climate change 😒

Al Gafar
2024-01-06 13:44:48

Down to money and poor planning . Engineers need to get out of their cosy warm offices and hit the ground running. Recently reported broken drain cover on the cycle track under the overpass on 1st avenue. Job well done only it would have been prudent to have cleared the drain instead of leaving it full to the brim with debris ,hey ho human nature (want on my job sheet ),🥴

2024-01-06 20:59:47

Tbf it's not just poor mismanagement by the water companies, it's the constant building on areas that were flood planes or just naturally absorbed water. You can't just reduce and reduce natural ecosystems and then be surprised when places flood. Halfon should be looking into that as well

Margaret Owen
2024-01-07 09:30:03

I applaud Cllr Purse for having meetings to arrange meetings about the next meetings, but where's the action? For shareholders to make profit from selling such a vital support to life over and above making safe our homes and rivers is a morally bankrupt action. But, no more than I would expect from the current administration.

2024-01-07 17:06:18

Halfon grasping at publicity straws. The stench of redundancy in his nostrils.

2024-01-07 21:08:02

Its all just talk! Saying what people want to hear them say and it's not always the truth!

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