Heavy rainfall and high summer temperatures already frequently impact Margate, and are experienced throughout Kent more widely, and will increasingly result in flooding and heat stress into the future. Kent County Council (KCC) is undertaking an innovative programme of work in Margate to reduce the risk of flooding and heat stress.

A study commissioned by KCC to reduce flood risk in the area recommended the retrofitting of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) within Maynard Avenue and Garrard Avenue in Margate. These streets suffer from heat stress during the summer and form part of the catchment which during heavy rains results in flooding.

In addition to seeking to reduce flooding KCC has been working to understand and address local climate risks and have been considering where opportunities can be found to install trees to reduce the impacts of increasing summer temperatures whilst creating attractive spaces for residents and visitors.

In order to maximise the reduction in flooding and heat stress as much as possible KCC has undertaken works which will reduce the amount of surface water runoff entering the sewer network whilst providing benefit with regards to climate risk. Works undertaken include the installation of a combination of 11 “ArborFlow SuDS tree pit systems” and conventional tree planting in the highway verges along Maynard Avenue and Garrard Avenue. The ArborFlow SuDS tree pit systems are specialised tree pits which can be placed in the existing verges and are designed to receive and manage surface water directly from the adjacent carriageway.

Surface water from the highway, which would previously have flowed into the combined sewer network, will now enter the SuDS tree pit systems, which utilise a combination of natural and engineered processes to then slowly infiltrate the water into the ground.

The top of each tree pit system has been planted with an appropriate tree for the conditions they will experience and will provide increased tree canopy cover in the street. The species of trees, a mixture of Maples and Maidenhair trees have been selected for their canopy size to generate shade, their ability to withstand drought and heavy rainfall as well as being good for biodiversity and improving air quality.

Increasing the amount of green infrastructure (e.g. the network of urban trees and woodlands, private and public greenspaces), can reduce the air temperature in urban areas through increased evaporation of water from plants and tree leaves, reflecting more sunlight and providing shade for residents and visitors during the summer months.

The works have been funded by the EU Interreg 2 Seas project, Cool Towns and the DEFRA Urban Tree Challenge Fund. For more information please contact climate.change@kent.gov.uk