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Plea to keep drains clear of cooking oil to help avoid flooding in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 12:51 15 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:56 15 July 2014

Flooding on Beatrice Road, Norwich. Photo: Alastair Harnden

Flooding on Beatrice Road, Norwich. Photo: Alastair Harnden

Alastair Harnden

As parts of the region continue to mop up following flash flooding and torrential rain at the weekend, people are being urged to help keep drains clear and not dump cooking oil and fats down their kitchen sinks.

Anglian Water deals with 35,000 blockages a year with more than half caused by items like used fats, oils and grease.

Today – as the region braces itself for more storms from Friday – Norwich City Council and Anglian Water are launching a cooking oil recycling scheme that aims to encourage householders to safely dispose of cooking oil and fats at new recycling banks, so instead of blocking drainage systems the waste can be turned into biodiesel.

Paul Gibbs, Anglian Water’s director of water recycling, said: “Avoidable blockages are a huge problem, expensive and bad for the environment. They can also be costly for homeowners if they end up with a blockage on their private sewer.

“That’s why our Keep It Clear campaign aims to get people to dispose of cooking fats responsibly. With this new solution from the council, rather than blocking up drains, your used cooking oil could be turned into biofuel and used again – it’s a win-win and makes perfect sense.”

City councillor Keith Driver, portfolio holder for waste and recycling, said: “The oil banks are really easy to use. You just put your used cooled oil and fat into a plastic or glass bottle or jar and drop it into the recycling bin – it doesn’t matter if the glass smashes, it will all be filtered out in the process. What’s more all the bottles get recycled.”

The new oil banks sit alongside existing mini recycling points at Waitrose in Eaton, near the shops in Enfield Road, Sainsburys in Queens Road, Morrisons in Albion Way, Tuckswood shops, and St Saviours car park.

Vegetable and cooking oil, lard, roasting fats, barbecue fats, grill fats, margarine and butter can all be placed in the banks, and Bensons Products Limited will then take them to a processing plant where the products will be turned into biodiesel.

A second initiative which could help reduce flooding during heavy rainfall is the Taverham Sustainable Drainage scheme, which will get underway from next week. The scheme aims to capture rainwater and divert it into a drainage system using special plants and grasses that also slow water and provide more opportunity for it to soak away into the soil or evaporate.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said both schemes were examples of initiatives that could help to combat flash-flooding.

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