London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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Greenwich 1961

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for Greenwich Borough]

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Many properties in the Borough in close proximity to the
River Ravensbourne have suffered from inundations once or twice
a year in recent years and flood waters have penetrated to the foundations,
resulting in extreme discomfort to the inhabitants besides
tending to produce in the dwellings ideal conditions for the spreading
of dry rot.
It was reported in 1959 that the problem was being investigated
under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Food which had invited the London County Council to consider
in what way jurisdiction over the river could best be exercised.
Following a conference held at the Ministry with representatives
from interested public authorities it was agreed that the
London County Council and the Kent County Council should
confer with the local authorities in their areas and report their progress
to the Ministry.
Finally the London County Council advised the Minister that
"it was the Council's opinion that the River Ravensbourne should
be dealt with as a watercourse under the jurisdiction of the Land
Drainage Authority and that legislation should be sought to confer
such functions on the Council in respect of that part of the river
which is within the County boundary. In this event it is understood
that the Council would become eligible, under the Agricultural
Act, 1937, for grant towards the cost of an approved drainage
scheme designed to prevent flooding within the County".'
A joint Bill with the Kent County Council was drafted and
presented to Parliament and, on the 3rd August of this year, the
River Ravensbourne, etc. (Improvement and Flood Prevention) Act,
1961, received the Royal Assent.
This Act confers like powers on the London County Council
and Kent County Council for " the improvement and protection of
and the prevention of flooding from the River Ravensbourne and
its tributaries and for purposes connected therewith." In London
it applies not only to the rivers Ravensbourne, Pool, and Quaggy,
the Kid Brook, Kyd Brook and the Lower Kid Brook but also to
the parts of all tributaries, brooks and watercourses (whether open
or covered) that flow into these rivers or streams.
Powers are given to both these County Councils to make bylaws
and, in the prevention of pollution,
(a) to dredge, cleanse and scour the stream,
(b) to reduce or remove any shoals, shelves, banks or other
accumulations in the stream,