Thames21 provides new technology for communities to help beat flooding

Press Release

Residents of four London boroughs provided with cutting edge devices to monitor flood defences

London, UK –  21 January 2020:

Residents in Enfield, Hillingdon, Harrow and Havering are being given the chance to use cutting-edge technology usually reserved for experts – and help care for their area at the same time.

Ten Freestation devices with water level sensors have already been built and will be installed along stretches of watercourses, where they will help monitor the impact of natural flood defences such as leaky dams and tree planting.

 ‘Everyone is welcome to get involved and hands-on with this new technology’, said Stephen Haywood, Natural Flood Management Officer for Thames21, the rivers charity leading the project. ‘It offers the chance to care for our local area and learn more about how nature based solutions can help protect our homes and workplaces from flooding.’

The devices are connected to the Internet of Things (IOT) and will send data from a variety of sensors for anyone to view. The devices can measure water levels and soil moisture, with the potential for additional  sensors later on, such as  wildlife cameras.

Residents wanting to learn more or get involved should email Stephen Haywood on

The devices are being deployed as part of an Natural Flood Management trial headed up by rivers charity Thames21 in Enfield, Hillingdon, Havering and Harrow. Natural Flood Management harnesses the power of nature to store and slow down the flow of water. Typical Natural Flood Management techniques can involve planting trees, creating storage ponds, creating wetlands or building leaky dams with woody materials.

This is the first time local communities in Enfield, Hillingdon, Havering and Harrow have been empowered to use this technology; up until now use of Freestation technology has been restricted to those involved with the wider programme at Kings College London and their project partner, Ambio-TEK.

Hundreds of thousands of Londoners live and work in areas at risk of flooding. With climate change, this risk is increasing. By replacing landscapes with hard concrete surfaces, we make it difficult for water to soak into the ground, and at the same time we have straightened our rivers, making them more prone to flash flooding – water moving very quickly. By restoring our rivers and our landscapes we can enhance the landscape’s natural ability to soak up and store water more safely.

Find out more about NFM and the project:



Notes for editors

About Thames21

Thames21 connects people with rivers by putting healthy rivers back at the heart of everyday life. We improve and restore rivers, educate and empower the community and campaign for positive change for the good of people and the environment. | Registered Charity No. 1103997

Media Contact

Kirsten Downer

Communications Officer at Thames21

07711 701 696

020 7248 7171