Climate change blamed for flooding at Inverleith Park

Flooding in Inverleith park
Flooding in Inverleith park
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Climate change is being blamed for expensive flooding problems at one of Edinburgh’s busiest parks.

The council hopes to spend £220,000 to solve the flooding at Inverleith Park but will have to wait until next year for the funding to be allocated in the authority’s budget.

The council admits there is a risk that “more frequent and heavier rainfall events caused by climate change” means more water needs to be drained from Inverleith Park.

Flooding there has caused issues for many years with playing fields regularly inundated after heavy rainfall. In 2013, the council invested £82,000 on drainage works.

Transport and environment vice convener, Cllr Karen Doran, said: “Inverleith Park is one of the city’s largest and most popular green spaces and attracts tens of thousands of people each year to relax in its surroundings, play sport in its fields or attend one of the key events taking place there.

“For some time the park has been subject to flooding, adversely impacting the enjoyment of those who visit, and it has been recognised that a long term solution is required to limit the effects. Proposals to improve drainage would go some way to achieving this and funding will be considered as part of the 19/20 budget process.”

Organisers of commercial events are required to pay towards damage caused to the ground. Following last year’s Foodies Festival, £13,127 was used for repairs.

A report by officers to the council’s Transport and Environment Committee, said: “It has been determined that some of the existing drainage system is no longer able to effectively drain surface water, given the frequency and scale of current rainfall events.

“It is therefore proposed that the ineffective sections are replaced with larger and better aligned piping, and that the installation of lateral and secondary field drainage supplements these.

“A bid for capital funding will be made as part of the 2019/20 budget process.”

Green councillors have pointed to large-scale commercial events being held at Inverleith Park for adding to the flooding problems.

Green Cllr Steve Burgess said:“In recent years, pressure on the park ground has been increased by large scale commercial events. So it is important that engineering work to sort flooding now is not undermined by heavy machinery and equipment out of keeping with parks.

“Sadly, with climate change, flooding events like this are going to be more frequent in the future - yet another reminder that prevention is better than cure.”

The report to councillors adds: “During storm events, the volume of water being received is exceeding the flow capacity of the downstream pipes. This results in water backing-up and the surrounding areas becoming flooded.”

Last year, Liberal Democrat Cllr Hal Osler put forward a motion calling for action to alleviate the flooding.

At the time, Cllr Osler said: “Standing water is a health risk to people and animals and we need to investigate this problem and stop the flooding.”