Rain, Drains and floods

Rain affects us in Cranleigh because we are supplied with many rivers and streams. Local flooding is likely.
Autumn leaves are causing drains to block up and we all need to clear these when we can.
Environment Agency advice – “Cranleigh Waters – Flooding is possible – be prepared. Property flooding is not currently expected. River levels remain high on the Cranleigh Waters following heavy rainfall but are beginning to fall. Therefore flooding of roads and low lying land is expected to continue. There is no further rainfall forecast tonight with a few showers possible tomorrow (15/11/19). We are closely monitoring the situation. Please remain safe and aware of your local surroundings and refer to the ‘River and Sea levels in England’ webpage for current river levels. This message will be updated tomorrow morning, 15/11/19, or as the situation changes.”

This information was last updated at click here

Report Flooding to Surrey County Council here


Flood Forum update

Flood Forum update

Flood Forum Update – Our MP Anne Milton calls this meeting and requires a panel of experts to attend for one hour to answer important questions posed last time, and to take away actions. Next meeting Friday 22nd March, Cranleigh Band Room, 10.30 am.  We have microphones and a PA system. We will provide notes about the panel and the topics.

INSURANCE – Cranleigh Civic Society is concerned about housing being built on land that is known to flood.  It is difficult to understand the expert reports to Waverley’s planning department, explaining how the flood risks are to be managed. CCS has been in contact with an insurance company and also the Association of British Builders (ABI). There is a scheme called “Flood Re”, set up by Government, to make sure that homes built before 2009 can get flood insurance. But those built afterwards cannot IF they are built on sites with a high chance of flooding.  Also the “Flood Re” insurance will come to an end in 2039. So people who look at buying new properties (anywhere) are advised to look at the planning applications comments and objections in case they are thought to be at risk.

The Environment Agency now has Cranleigh on its Flood Alert service  https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/warnings

“Cranleigh Waters Flooding is possible – be prepared – Property flooding is not currently expected. River levels have risen on the Cranleigh Waters as a result of rainfall last night and this morning (04/03/19). Therefore, flooding of roads and farmland is expected. Further light rain showers are forecast over the next few hours. We expect river levels to remain high this afternoon and start falling this evening. We are closely monitoring the situation. Please remain safe and aware of your local surroundings and refer to the ‘River and Sea levels in England’ web page for current river levels. This message will be updated this evening, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 

Rivers – we will continue to “river dip”  soon – we will be looking for the tiny lavae of river flies – these are the food for other species and fish, and show if the water is clean enough. Surrey Wildlife Trust are actively setting up improvements to the water ways. n.b. fallen tree trunks and branches can safely be left in the waterways!

Sewage treatment works – is run by Thames Water.  All we know is that they must provide suitable fresh water and sewerage treatment works for the number of people living in each area.  We also know that there is sometimes a problem with sewage items coming up in homes and streets.  if this happens call Thames Water and they will attend the scene and fix what they can.  Then also tell Cranleigh Parish Council for their records.

Fresh Water supplies – we will be asking TW for an update on their project to bring a new pipeline to our area in the next 6 or so years.

Replacement of old Asbestos Cement drinking water pipes – we continue to press Waverley Borough Council to ensure all the old asbestos cement drinking water pipes in Cranleigh are replaced before any more new homes get connected to them, to take away any risks associated with the release of asbestos fibres into the water system.  In January 2017, Cranleigh Civic Society issued a Hazard Report about this to Waverley and we asked Waverley to risk assess the hazard.  They have not been able to take action for various reasons.   In February 2017, the Government’s Health and Safety Executive also wrote to Waverley asking them to risk assess Cranleigh Civic Society’s hazard report, but so far, over 2 years later, Waverley has not reported success. Cranleigh Parish Council have written to WHO and there is some hope that funding can be found for them to investigate any health risks.


Cranleigh’s rivers – are they healthy?

Cranleigh’s rivers – are they healthy?

Testing of Cranleigh’s rivers has always taken place occasionally and now  Surrey Wildlife Trust is helping to get more testing done and some improvements made.

Chemical levels are measured by groups of volunteers as are the numbers of river fly larvae, which indicate the health levels.

It is a fact that all sewage works clean the water as best they can before letting it go into the rivers. Here are two more facts:

  1. The levels of chemicals that remain, although allowed by government, are not good for wild life and cause the depletion of fish and their natural foods.
  2. In a flood situation, foul untreated sewage does come up in people’s homes which is why all the possessions have to be destroyed in the worst cases.

River dipping is a much needed and scientific past-time that some of us have undertaken on everyone’s behalf . We are hunting for river-flies as they are known, the tiny lavae of various species such as cadis fly, which are collected, counted and returned to the rivers. Afterwards the data collected is viewed by experts.

At a recent dip we found just one lava along with shrimps, and so the water is probably not to their liking, too many chemicals from somewhere.

We were dipping near to the back of Cranleigh Golf and Country club.

Image result for caddisfly

The Wey & Arun Canal near us

The Wey & Arun Canal near us

A section of the Wey and Arun Canal is apparently Under Reconstruction  near us here in Cranleigh.

As you drive along Elmbridge Road between the One Stop and the A218 the narrow hump with traffic calming is a sort of bridge over it.

How would it be if that part of the road were made into a proper double width bridge travelling responsibly over the Canal? It could then be dredged and restored.

But who owns the land and will it ever happen? How could Surrey County Council ever afford such a project?  Would you support it?

You might like to join the Wey & Arun Trust and support the wonderful work they do – for wildlife corridors and fresh air lungs for our built up areas https://weyarun.org.uk/





Please sign up to help restore our local “Rivers” –  Cranleigh Waters!  Will you join in so that the water flows better and the wildlife come back?   We all want and need a thriving river. It starts with counting what’s there at the moment.


Surrey Wildlife Trust has secured some funds to do some much needed restoration works but really need volunteers to help on the following days :-

Wednesday 29th August 10am till 3pm

Saturday 15th September 10am till 3pm



“The project: In partnership with Thames Water, Surrey Wildlife Trust are working to restore the Cranleigh Waters back to a thriving river. To do this we need your help. We are recruiting volunteers in the area to join our team of regular Riverfly monitors who sample the aquatic life that lives on the river bed” 

Please also consider joining Surrey Wildlife Trust – they are amazing and there are not enough staff to look after everything that needs to be cared for.

Cranleigh Flood Forum News (29.3.18)

Cranleigh Flood Forum News (29.3.18)

Our last Flood Forum update posted here on 18 March was based on an article The Cranleigh Society were asked to provide by the Surrey Advertiser – but it was not published.

The Society was then asked to expand on other real problems being faced by Cranleigh; we obliged by sending the content for a second article and that, also, was not published.

Both articles were 100% factual, so we can only conclude that the Surrey Advertiser did not wish to be controversial.

Pressure can still be put on Waverley…

As mentioned in the website posting on 18 March, AC drinking water pipes and the Thakeham site were the main concerns expressed at the Flood Forum but the bigger picture also needs to be considered. There is a general concern for the number of sites where there are flood issues and/or an over reliance on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

More and more Cranleigh residents are complaining about the ever increasing numbers of grab trucks and other contractor’s vehicles thundering through the High Street. These are causing havoc in the B-roads and narrow lanes, and it is going to get immeasurably worse as the building work intensifies.

These heavy vehicles are causing new potholes to appear daily in the High Street, and cars are being forced up on to paths to avoid wheel and tyre damage.

But Waverley and Surrey County Council do not care.

There are other major problems as well:
  • Waverley has pushed 48% of all the new housing in the Local Plan on to sites in and around Cranleigh
  • In doing so, they have ignored infrastructure issues.

The Society accepts there is nothing that can be done about the first point.  Those planning applications have all received permission, but pressure can still be put on Waverley as regards the infrastructure issues where Cranleigh Civic Society believe Waverley are vulnerable. These are:

1. Flood risk.
2. Asbestos cement pipes.
3. Cranleigh Waters pollution.

Of course, everyone is concerned about roads and bridges too, but these are the responsibility of Surrey County Council, not Waverley.

Naturally prone to flooding…

There is an interesting story emerging about flood risk to which there appears to be no solution, solely because of the actions of Waverley and the inaction of the Environment Agency.

This whole sorry saga began in November 2015 when the owner of the Knowle Park Initiative site dredged a section of Cranleigh Waters, not realising that they needed a permit to do so from the Environment Agency which, incidentally would have been refused.

On site, their contractor told the Society that this was done to “move the flood risk downstream”. The effect of this dredging was to move the flood risk from the KPI site to the area just before the bridge at Elmbridge Road, which at the time was fine as it was just meadowland. The problem is that Thakeham Homes bought the site and, on 5 October 2017, they were granted permission to build 54 houses on it.

KPI knew what would happen by doing this dredging,  as it is on their website! They knew that the Thakeham site is “part of the functional flood plain of Cranleigh Waters  and is naturally prone to flooding”.

They went on to state; “The main thing is to make sure the drainage and water courses are kept clear (a clear reference here to dredging) to allow these areas (the Thakeham site) to take the water quickly”.

The Thakeham site had serious flooding in December 2013, two years before the dredging – there is now the very real possibility of much higher flood levels, a matter that was totally ignored by Waverley when raised by Cranleigh Civic Society when the application was heard. The Society has a photo of the December 2013 flood level being higher than the site SuDS level, and we know from Met Office Data that they are predicting +30% rainfall during winter months up to 2080.  So that is why the Thakeham site is liable to flood.

Reducing, not removing the flood risk…

On 16 March, the Society heard from Surrey Wildlife Trust that the bulk of the funding announced at Anne Milton’s 9th March village meeting is to be spent putting the KPI stretch of Cranleigh Waters back to a two stage river. People may well ask why KPI themselves are not required to bear the cost of the reinstatement to a two stage river – the answer is that the Environment Agency did not act within the time limit of six months from the date of the illegal act, even though Cranleigh Civic Society advised them in January 2016 and the EA visited the site on 29 March 2016. So it appears that public money is now going to be spent correcting the damage done by the KPI dredging!

Was there pressure being put on the Environment Agency to let the KPI planning application go through to help meet Government housing targets?  It wasn’t until after the six months statute of limitations period that this all came to light, and the Environment Agency admitted their failure to act.

The problem is that if the KPI stretch of Cranleigh Waters is reinstated to two stage, it reduces (not removes) the flood risk at the Thakeham site and puts a flood risk back onto the KPI site.

What an awful mess – a mess that was totally avoidable if planning was considered on all the facts, good and bad, and not on just chasing housing numbers.

The Society envisages decades of flooding incidents, insurance problems and law suits.

Please help raise awareness by sharing our news updates where you can.

As always please email us at info@cranleighsociety.org with any relevant information regarding this article.