giant flood – no chance

A giant flood on Hampstead Heath? ‘No chance’, say anti-dam campaigners

Published: 7 February, 2014

THE chances of a storm so severe that the banks of ponds on Hampstead Heath collapse and flood Gospel Oak are so slim as to be non-existent, claim members of the Heath and Hampstead Society.

They are campaigning to block a £15m City of London project to build new dams on the Heath. The City claims under a new law that it is legally required to do so.

But the Society says the project is based on flawed predictions and has hit back at City-appointed engineer Dr Andy Hughes’ claims in last week’s New Journal that the work was vital to protect people living south of the ponds.

Society chairman Tony Hillier said: “The engineers had a strict rule book that does not tally with reality, but they feel obliged to follow it.”

He added: “The storm predicted would have huge effects on the areas at risk long before the dams failed. This should be addressed ahead of the ponds.”

In his report to the City of London, Dr Hughes concludes that it needs to “virtually eliminate the probability of collapse,” adding that using meteorological data gathered over hundreds of years, combined with the consequences of the dams failing, means the work should go ahead.

His report added that there was a risk of a storm once every 25 years happening that would lead to an over-topping of a dam.