Fears of ‘flash floods’ in Cambridge when rain finally comes

PUBLISHED: 12:15 20 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:15 20 July 2018

Newnham’s Cllr Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) said she was worried there could be “flash floods” in parts of Cambridge.

Newnham’s Cllr Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) said she was worried there could be “flash floods” in parts of Cambridge.


There are fears of “flash floods” in Cambridge with claims that, after more than two months without rain, drains could become clogged with rubbish from the streets when it finally does rain.

Newnham’s Cllr Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) said she was worried there could be “flash floods” in parts of Cambridge.

Speaking yesterday (July 19) at the full meeting of Cambridge City Council, Cllr Nethsingha said she worried that extra street “detritus”, which would normally be washed away by the rain, could clog drains when showers do arrive.

She was reassured, however, that the streets are still being cleaned regularly and that there is no “backlog” of cleaning.

“I don’t know how long it has been since it rained,” said Cllr Nethsingha. “But I am worried about flash floods if the drains can’t cope with all the detritus when the rain does finally come.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Nethsingha said: “It has happened in some places in Newnham, fortunately only rarely into houses, but causing problems in the streets.

“The dust and leaves in the gutters are all washed into the drains which then block. There are places on Queen’s Road and Grange Road where the streets become almost impassable. If that happened in the centre it could have a big impact.”

Green Councillor Oscar Gillespie said he believed the dry spell could be a result of climate change, but said the city needed to take “more pride” in its green spaces.

The council heard it has not rained in Cambridge for more than two months.

Labour’s Cllr Anna Smith, executive councillor for streets and open spaces, reassured the council the streets are being cleaned on a regular basis, and that there is no more “detritus” than there would be without the dry spell.

Cllr Smith said there was no “backlog” of street cleaning, and that particular “grot spots” in the city had been identified for particular focus.

“I want to reassure the opposition, some of whom haven’t been here that long, that jet washing does take place in places like the market square. It takes place at 4am there. Grot spots are targeted across the city for particular focus.

“We also wish to reassure colleagues there is no backlog. Officers are confident there is no need to ask for additional funds.”

Cllr Nethsingha, however, said she was unconvinced there was not still a danger.

“The gutters are full of muck just waiting to block the system,” she said.

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