20th September, Ian Hall and Kathryn Mackenzie of RevIvel presented to the Baldock Community Forum chaired by Urban&Civic (U&C) master developers.
RevIvel highlighted requirements, best practices and suggestions relating to water, with
sustainability, aquifer health and community wellbeing in mind.
Here is a short summary of the points raised:
1. Supply of Drinking Water
This is a key issue as we live in a semi-arid, water-stressed area. There is no new water available locally.
RevIvel emphasised that the new development should not be:
Detrimental to any chalk stream in this area
Used as a “bargaining tool” to weaken existing environmental commitments
Issue: Groundwater has been polluted by four sewage “spillages” in the last three years.
RevIvel requested that:
The new sewerage system must be constructed to the highest environmental standards and adopt best practices
No overflows should be fitted at pipes or pumping stations
There will be adequate storage within the system to cope with dry and wet weather flows
RevIvel sought confirmation that:
The new development will be water neutral, which is best practice
There will be compulsory (smart) metering in the new homes and to explore tiered pricing
and capping measures to encourage reduced consumption
4. Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)
It is best practice in chalk catchments to use SuDS to encourage infiltration throughout the
development to contribute to aquifer recharge and support groundwater; this means SuDS should capture/ reutilise as much water as possible within the site and reduce run off.
RevIvel highlighted the following as best practice:
a. Within the new homes
Features such as permeable driveways and water butts
Integrated plumbing: to ensure grey and rainwater is re-utilised to e.g. flush toilets
Fixtures and fittings which meet water efficiency best practice
b. Outside the new homes
Implement permeable road and paving surfaces everywhere
Implement SuDS across the whole site and in a joined-up way
Install flow inhibitors at discharge points (as chalk streams need a constant flow)
5. Hydrological Features
Opportunities for daylighting/ deculverting were mentioned at the consultation event.
RevIvel asked what has been highlighted in the site surveys?
An historic winterbourne stream runs through the site; RevIvel asked that this should be
respected, not treated as a drainage ditch
6. The Bigger Picture/ Future-Proofing
RevIvel flagged the following:
The need to keep abreast of the Levelling Up and Communities Bill (amendment contains
protection for chalk streams), as this will impact the planning process
That the Environment Agency (EA) has been vocal lately about new developments. RevIvel asked for confirmation that the EA had been consulted and asked what had been stipulated?
That the Pix Brook already floods; more recycled sewage water could make this worse.
Please investigate potential impact
That planning/ design needs to be future-proofed i.e. ironically if abstraction were reduced, groundwater could rise
U&C thanked RevIvel for the presentation and the suggestions.
There was useful discussion and furthermore, U&C confirmed that all the points (19!) raised by RevIvel were valid to take forward for further evaluation. This meeting was the latest in a series of helpful discussions with further progress meetings to be scheduled.
A reminder that the next public consultation events are scheduled for 24th and 25th November 2023 at St Mary’s Church Hall in Baldock.