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Increase in old drainage systems failing

Increase in old drainage systems failing

Just like you can’t help but notice the number of new potholes that have appeared on our roads recently, we’ve seen a real surge in land drainage systems failing. So what’s been happening?

Reports from the drainage community

Twitter is a great way to keep up-to-date with the UK land drainage and farming community and it has been inundated with images of wet fields over the last few months.

As drainage systems have struggled to cope with the record levels of rainfall, drainage contractors and farmers have been uploading their photos of drainage systems that have collapsed or are in need of urgent repair. Here’s just a few of examples:


So what’s been the problem?

Extreme weather is a factor

I think we’ve all felt that this year’s winter was longer, colder and wetter than normal – March alone was reportedly one of the wettest on record!

The combination of extreme rainfall and icy temperatures have taken their toll on land drainage systems with many seemingly bursting at the seams whilst diverting the excessive rainfall.

Things are only set to get worse too! The magnitude of extreme rainfall has reportedly increased twofold over parts of the UK since the 1960’s and this is predicted to increase in the coming years.

Old drainage systems struggling

The installation of clay piping systems was popular over 30 years ago when government grants were available for land drainage. In the 1980’s these grants were retracted leading to fewer farmers choosing to invest in them.

30 years on and unsurprisingly these systems are now causing problems. We’ve seen that many of the old clay systems simply cannot withstand the extreme weather conditions, as many of them have started to decay or become clogged with silt, which cannot be flushed out.

Our advice

Investing in a well-functioning drainage system is the best way to help the fields recover more quickly post rainfall.

Some of our top tips include:

  1. Check your old land drainage to ensure your pipes are surrounded by gravel when they were installed and have not started to decay.
  2. Ditch and dyke maintenance should also be carried out as necessary and the drainage outlets into these should be checked.

For more advice on land drainage or to discuss any our land drainage products, contact our sales team on 0121 351 3230.

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