Seeds of change

20 March 2019 - Published by Ellen Kelder

By Kirsty MacCaulay - Opportunity Enfield Magazine

Enfield's position on the periphery of London means it is uniquely placed to lead on good sustainability practice; mitigating flood risk, creating wetlands and reducing carbon emissions. 

After an incredibly wet spring and then the long, hot summer of 2018, there can be little doubt that climate change is a very real problem; and one that needs addressing immediately. Thankfully, Enfield Council is leading the charge with a host of initiatives to increase sustainability and reduce flood risk. Projects range from installing beautiful wetlands and rain gardens to the mammoth task of reducing energy and carbon used by council buildings.

In 2013, Enfield Council set up its 'sustainability action plan' and exceeded the target to reduce carbon by 40% three years early. The focus is now on retrofitting all 85 council buildings, making them more environmentally friendly. The project will include the installation of solar panels, LED lightning and insulation, as well as optimising water heating and cooling pumps. Enfield Council is investing 1 million pounds in the 18 buildings with the highest energy consumption. It is estimated the project will deliver 130,000 pounds in energy savings and an annual reduction of 380 tonnes of carbon dioxide. 

The local authority has also turned its attention to reducing flood risk. Enfield has more watercourses than any other London borough and a high risk of flooding in some areas. A Local Flood Risk Management Strategy was already in place when Enfield became a partner in the Interreg project BEGIN (Blue Green Infrastructure through Social Innovation) in 2017 to incorporate social innovation into drainage projects, making them more community driven.

Graham Campbell, senior engineer in Enfield Council's Structures and Watercourses team, explains: "Our involvement as a partner in the BEGIN project has reinforced the London Borough of Enfield's uptake of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and allowed us to contribute to and learn from international best practices and techniques in order to realise the multiple benefits of blue-green infrastructure, which work towards improving the liveability of the borough. "The flood risk sets the context for why we are doing this but the benefits are more wide reaching than solely alleviating flood risk. We encourage the inclusion of SuDS in new developments. 

The developer may want to use traditional methods such as storing water in underground crates or building a floodwall, but that only ticks one box. The measures we recommend improve water quality as well as biodiversity and create an interesting place for people to be: it is possible to do it creatively."

Read the full article in the Opportunity Enfield Magazine.