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Plans for Slough to get 'sponge roads' to tackle flooding

James Bagley. Local Democracy Reporter

Slough branded 'the worse place to drive in the country'

The Chinese ‘sponge city’ pioneering project is set to be deployed in Slough as the government announces new plans to combat flooding in England.

With the help of a share of £150 million from the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, the borough will see selected roads and pavements transformed with permeable surfaces that soak up water.

Slough will also see green roofs and natural vegetation that better drains and manages rainwater.

The project, which will span six years, will be managed by the Environment Agency and is one of 25 new flooding and coastal resilience projects across England to be funded by the government.

The ‘sponge city’ concept was first conceived in Wuhan. 

On the Government website, it states: “The project will take the innovative Chinese ‘sponge city’ concept to address the challenges of surface water and river flooding in a heavily urbanised environment. This will include permeable road surfacing, green roofs and natural vegetation that better drains and manages rainwater.”

A further 24 areas will also receive their share of the £150 million to improve their flooding defences and coastal resilience.

Buckinghamshire will get an app that will warn residents and businesses about the threat of ground water.

Restoration works of sub-tidal habitats, such as kelp beds, oyster reefs, and sea grass, will happen in South Tyneside to protect against coastal erosion and flooding.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “We’re investing a record £5.2 billion in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences over the next six years – but with the effects of climate change already being felt it’s vital that we combine this with long-term approaches to improve communities’ resilience.

“These 25 projects will not only help to inform future approaches to prepare communities for flooding and coastal change across the country, but also help reinforce the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation and new technology as we build back better.”

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