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Convened by:

18-20 June 2019

Telford International Centre, UK

Will King

Will King

Will King

WSP Speaking On: Day 2 (21st March)
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How many basements can fit in a bathtub?

According to a communique from the Hammersmith and Fulham Local Authority, 2,776 basements were approved for planning between 2011 and 2016; an average of around 460 per year.The cumulative impact of more basements operating within a shallow aquifer system over the coming decades is unknown. The shallow aquifer provides base-flow to the River Thames and has a finite capacity to store and transmit water. Climate change predictions suggest that winters in the southern UK will become wetter by ~30% by 2080 although the winter of 2013 to 2014 saw winter rainfall accumulations of more than 200% in many parts of the UK. The cumulative impact of more basements may increase the risk of groundwater emergence/flooding which could affect existing infrastructure. Two key questions apply:

  •  How can local authorities and the planning process account for potential cumulative impacts of proposed developments rather than focusing on the red line of a particular development?
  • Can more be done to understand hydrodynamic risks during the winter period as planning timelines/site investigations often occur during the summer months when conditions are drier? 
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