Northampton flash floods: Report blames 'freak storm'

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Media captionResidents in Northampton start cleaning-up after flash flooding hits their homes

Flash flooding in Northampton last year was the result of a "freak storm", an independent report has found.

Twice the normal monthly rainfall fell in just over an hour and "very little, if anything" could have been done to stop 70 properties in St Leonard's Road flooding, the report said.

Northamptonshire County Council commissioned the report by David Smith Associates after the storm on 27 May.

The Hardingstone, Wootton, Briar Hill and Camp Hill areas also flooded.

The report states the rainfall was beyond the design capacity of drainage systems across the St Leonard's Road catchment area and surface water was up to 90cm deep in some places.

The same area of Northampton was badly affected by flooding at Easter in 1998, when thousands of homes were damaged by the River Nene bursting its banks, exacerbated by the fact storm drains were blocked.

Rainfall data for the incident indicates that up to 93mm of rain may have fallen in just one hour in Wootton, compared to the monthly May average of 54mm.

Listing recommendations to avoid future flooding, the report suggested assessing the viability of options for engineering schemes to reduce risk.

It also said local authorities and the emergency services should continue to work together and review their immediate and follow up response to flooding.

Ian Morris, environment cabinet member for the county council, said: "This was a freak storm that deposited up to twice the monthly rainfall over the period of one hour and very little, if anything, could have been done to prevent it."

Flood investigation reports for other affected areas in Northampton are due to be published in the coming weeks.

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