Hundreds of drains in Northampton streets hit by flooding this year have still not be cleaned

Street cleaners were only sent out the day after flash flooding in Northampton to clean out packed drains.
Street cleaners were only sent out the day after flash flooding in Northampton to clean out packed drains.

Hundreds of drains in an area of Northampton hit by flash flooding this year have still not been cleaned or maintained.

Since July 2017, near 600 drains in Delapre & Briar Hill were passed up by cleaners on yearly visits.

It includes some 500 drains in residential streets that were not cleaned out in the run-up to flash flooding in May this year

Over a hundred Northampton homes were swamped with floodwater in May because street gulleys packed with silt and dirt could not drain away rainwater from an overnight thunderstorm.

St Leonards Road was one of the worst affected - where not one drain was cleaned when crews visited in October 2017.

However, since the flooding in May, fewer than 100 drains have been turned down for cleaning.

But many roads not cleaned before the floods have not been revisited since.

A full report of drains and gullies cleaned by Northamptonshire County Council's highways department in the past two years has been revealed by a Freedom of Information request.

In the council's data, road crews occasionally listed a reason for not cleaning a drain - often because of a parked car in the way.

But out of some 3,000 entries where gullies were not cleaned, a reason was given for fewer than a fifth of them.

The Chronicle & Echo reported after the flash floods in May how road crews claimed they were unable to clean drains in St Leonards Road - one of the worst neighbourhoods affected - because of parked cars blocking access to drains.

Road crews were pictured on their hands and knees using crowbars to dig at the built-up silt in St Leonards Road's drains.

Residents also sent pictures of drains completely clogged with mud and silt in the days after the storm.

The county council carries out a programme of gully clearance once a year and will send out contractors to reports of extreme blockages.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We endeavour to inspect the gullies on a routine basis or when they are reported to Street Doctor. If cars are parked above gullies preventing access, a subsequent visit is arranged.

“The flood in May were a very unusual weather event where a significant amount of intense rainfall fell in concentrated areas of Northampton leading to surface water flooding.

“The county council as lead local flood authority for the county is coordinating an independent investigation to better understand what factors contributed to the flooding.”