Edinburgh would see less flooding after torrential rain if drains worked properly – John McLellan

Most people will have stories about Sunday’s deluge, and theories about the worst effects; climate change, broken gullies and, those bad, lazy, aspirational people with mono-blocked driveways.

By John McLellan
Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 4:45 pm
A number of Edinburgh streets were flooded after torrential rain fell on Sunday
A number of Edinburgh streets were flooded after torrential rain fell on Sunday

The gully directly outside my house was only cleared only a fortnight ago, but the drainage system is broken because it overflows after relatively light rainfall.

Water regularly streams across the road towards our house and, although our driveway is mono-blocked, a slight camber and the street slope means we don’t get flooded. Next door’s drive goes straight down and on Sunday, with just the width of the shared wall between us, they were inundated and we were unaffected.

The worst effects were partly to do with design but a lot to do with a drainage system incapable of coping with increasingly frequent extreme conditions, or maybe to do with the Victorians building houses here in the first place.

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All over the city, sewers and drains are malfunctioning, and turning a square of lawn into off-street parking makes little difference to how a city deals with half a month’s rain in an hour.

Wise after the event? Here’s Councillor Jo Mowat’s amendment to a motion from Green councillor Gavin Corbett last August: “Notes reports of a number of drains which had had recent repairs failed, leading to serious flooding of properties and requests that the dialogue with Scottish Water includes details of plans on how such heavy rainfall can be accommodated within the drainage system.”

The motion called for a report to full council which never appeared.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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