Putney flood defence work starts soon

Published: 8 April 2011

The Environment Agency will begin an important flood defence project at Ashlone Wharf in the next few weeks.

Work will begin in early May and is expected to last until the end of the year.

Ashlone Wharf is an important flood defence structure which manages the flow of water between Beverley Brook and the River Thames.

The wharf, which is located to the south of Barn Elms Playing Fields, is in a poor condition and requires urgent repairs. Engineers anticipate the gates would completely fail within the next few years if no action were taken, exposing more than 450 homes to the risk of tidal flooding from the Thames.

A secure construction site will be created around the wharf for the duration of the works and a temporary road will run along the edge of the sports pitches to provide vehicle access to the site from Queen Elizabeth Walk. A small compound will also be set up in the southern corner of the playing fields. 

Environment Agency officials confirm the riverside tow path between Putney and Barnes will remain open throughout the works, as will Beverley Brook Walk. 

Some preparatory tree thinning was completed earlier this year to avoid the nesting season. The removal of overhanging branches and shrubs allows more sunlight to reach the brook, helping to improve conditions for reeds. A healthier reed bed will help to stabilise the brook's silt levels and improve the environment for fish, eels and other river wildlife. Further landscaping and reed bed planting will take place later in the project.

The Environment Agency does not need planning permission to carry out works to flood defence structures like Ashlone Wharf and has a right of access to the site through the playing fields. 

The council is working with the project team to maximise bio-diversity benefits and ensure disruption to the Barn Elms Sports Centre, the tow path, Beverly Brook Walk and residents living close to the site is kept to a minimum.

Environment Agency officials have written to residents in the surrounding area to update them on the project and are holding a site visit on 19 April to further explain the nature and purpose of the works. 

Environment Agency project manager David  Blythin said: "This is a really important project that will provide protection to more than 450 local residents. Additional benefits will include an improved landscape and more wildlife habitat. We're working closely with Wandsworth Borough Council to minimise the disruption for local people." 

For more information, and to register your interest in attending the site visit, contact the Environment Agency's project manager David Blythin on 01276 454705 or email david.blythin@environment-agency.gov.uk

For press enquiries contact the Environment Agency press desk on 0118 953 5555.