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Soakaways can’t cope with floods in Gustard Wood


It seems that every time there is heavy rain, the drains supporting various local roads simply cannot cope with the deluge of water and so can, and often do get badly flooded.

One local man explained his concerns for Lamer Lane, the main thoroughfare from Wheathampstead Village to Gustard Wood and Kimpton.



“Lamer Lane can get quite busy in peak times and when the road is flooded, traffic including cyclists tend to use the centre of the road to avoid the deep water on the side. Clearly this puts motorists and cyclists at risk and is surely an accident waiting to happen.”

The same resident said that he had brought this to the attention of the council more than once, but nothing changed.


This is an issue for the Highways Department at the County Council as they are responsible amongst other things for roads and drainage. According to the council web site, drains are cleaned on a rota basis and the drains in Wheathampstead were last cleaned in December 2017.

The Publishers contacted the Highways Department to ask how often cleaning takes place in the Gustard Wood and particularly Lamer Lane area and they told us, “There are no main drains at this location. The surface water drainage entirely relies on soakaways, with a limited number of gullies and shallow/narrow highway ditches. Ditch clearance does help a little but due to the ditch capacity and heavy lorry movements the ditches become ineffective again after a short time.”

The Publishers informed the Highways dept that roads were flooded earlier this year after cleaning and that with motorists and cyclists forced to used the middle of the road to avoid deep water these floods could be responsible for accidents. With that in mind, we asked about plans for additional measures on the roads concerned to ensure better safety and they told us, “Ditch clearance works will be scheduled for the current year but the success of capturing lots of water will be minimal. Additionally, a drainage survey will be considered which would determine the condition of the existing network and establish the outlet/discharge points of the highway gullies.”

They added that, “Residents are advised to report flooding incidents and discuss their concerns with their local county councillor. When flooding is reported a response team will visit the site. They will erect warning signs should it be necessary.”


If you have any concerns or comments for the Highways team about this please email.

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