Landscape design for sunny areas

Landscape design for sunny areas

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Landscape design for sunny areas of London

You may have read or heard of the much talked about permeable paving programme being rolled out by the London Borough of Newham. I am pleased to report that in two weeks I was finally able to see how it worked and its merits (or otherwise). For anyone interested, here is a short summary.

The project is designed to reduce flooding in Newham and this is what has led to it being taken forward. As a result, there are five permeable islands, that will eventually cover the streets of Newham with slabs of permeable paving, called ‘Pave*Newham’. Each island, once built will remain there for the next ten years and they will be fully patrolled and patrolled regularly.

The islands will be installed on streets that run parallel to the London boundary wall, at the riverside of the river (Tower) Aye and the A13 East London Highway and within one hour of where the River Lea meets the Thames in the London Borough of Newham.

As of yet, we have only seen the Pave*Newham islands installed on two main roads, but we have also been able to test drive in one.

This island on Dock Road is unique in that it is enclosed, on three sides, by a local authority ‘oversight’ vehicle. It is simply impossible to do your proper test on public roads!

However, this particular island has been in place for a couple of weeks now, and it was interesting to see how it works.

(image above is from the dock road island, we have not been allowed to photograph it, sorry. I have to say that the first time I looked at it through my camera, I was struck by how effective it is and how minimal the area that is uncovered. As you can see by looking at the picture above, and now by looking at a picture of it with some of the Pave*Newham pavement above it, the effect is quite striking.)

Here is an example of the way in which the plan is set out for drainage.

There are slabs of paving with a layer of permeable matrix in the centre. This is in the centre of each island, the exception being the one we tested on, but they seem to have a couple of empty slabs with a matrix in the middle, so we cannot say one way or the other.

The matrix is as clear as any concrete and is very porous, but also a very forgiving material. You would have no problems working in a layer of it.

And just like concrete, the matrix has slots in it which is where the water will run into the matrix. There is some ‘baffle’ in it to stop water running along the surface of the matrix, but there is more going on here.

This arrangement of ‘slots’ is known as a ‘table’ and it has no part in the actual percolation system.

To explain what actually takes place, let me show you a picture of the one I drove on. (This island has been there for about two weeks, we have not been allowed to take photographs of it. This one, courtesy of Rohan Laidlaw)

The white part is the existing road, the grey part is the pavement and the pink area is the permeable matrix.

It is as you can see very clear, and as we drove on, we did not see the slightest bit of water, so it really does seem to work.

The one major drawback of the material is that it does not absorb water and it will take a while to build up. It is not a product for everyday use, it does not suit private roads, but, for a main road that regularly has lots of heavy rainfall, and in riverside areas that may flood, it is absolutely the correct material to use.

I found it fascinating to drive on and watch, but it was also worth noticing the traffic. On a public road, it is completely impossible to block off traffic. It is also impossible to apply the full level of permeable matrix. You cannot control the water that runs in or you will have pools in the road. Therefore, the level of permeable matrix cannot be increased and still have traffic pass. You need to keep the same level and allow the water to run off quickly.

I would expect to see much more of this system installed in the future, but only if there is plenty of rainfall.

Newham is getting about two inches of rain a year, and on some streets it is over three inches a year, so that’s about 160 litres a day, and that does not include other rain and snow.

With pave*Newham, each island will retain about 80 litres per square metre in the centre, and this will gradually fall to 20 litres per square metre over ten years.

This will not stop the road getting wet, or water from running down the sides of the island, but it will reduce the speed at which it will drain away. The roads will not be completely dry, but certainly drier than before.

Saya tidak boleh tidak berfikir bahawa turapan*Newham adalah cara yang lebih menjimatkan kos untuk mengurangkan bahaya banjir jalan raya, tetapi saya faham bahawa ia juga lebih rumit.

Saya juga faham bahawa pave*Newham bukanlah satu perkara, ia mempunyai papaknya sendiri, dan selepas sepuluh tahun rawatan semula jalan itu perlu melalui dua puluh atau lebih papak lagi.