UCL News


Seeing the light: Rediscovering the historic River Fleet

14 July 2009

The course of a hidden Camden river has been mapped for the first time in a special project to look at ways to address the impacts of future climate change in London.

MSc students from UCL's Environmental Systems Engineering programme have been working in partnership with Camden Council to trace and map the course of the River Fleet and its major tributaries.

The river rises in Hampstead Heath and flows mostly underground through Camden's Victorian sewer system and joins the River Thames within the City of London.

Student Jonathan Glerum says: "Early records describe its importance in establishing the original location of London, as a transportation hub and as a water and power source. Its recent history, however, is buried deep below London's buildings and roads following the construction of the Victorian sewer network".

Camden Council's Executive Member for Environment Cllr Chris Knight said: "We are always keen to work with partners like UCL who are leaders in their field in our common goal of tackling climate change and improving the environment for future generations."

The work will help the Council plan for the future to minimise potential flooding and climate change risk and comes as a new set of national climate change projections have been issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  The projections will help Camden in assessing what the future impacts might be from a changing climate, such as increasing heat-waves, flood events, water scarcity and the action that we can all take now to plan for the future.

Mapping the location of Camden's water courses will also strengthen the Council's understanding of its natural resources.  According to DEFRA, each Londoner consumes an average of 168 litres of water per day, more than the national average of 150 litres, despite London having less available water per person than hotter, drier countries such as Morocco.

For more information about UCL's MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering see: http://www2.cege.ucl.ac.uk/students/postgraduate/envmsc/

To find out more about how you can take action to address climate change, visit the Council's green web-pages: www.camden.gov.uk/green


For further information please contact Dave Weston in the UCL Press Office on +44 (0) 20 7679 7678 or d.weston@ucl.ac.uk or Lynn MacDonald, press officer for Camden Council, on 020 7974 5238 or lynn.macdonald@camden.gov.uk.

About UCL (University College London):

Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. UCL is the seventh-ranked university in the 2008 THES-QS World University Rankings, and the third-ranked UK university in the 2008 league table of the top 500 world universities produced by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. UCL alumni include Marie Stopes, Jonathan Dimbleby, Lord Woolf, Alexander Graham Bell, and members of the band Coldplay. UCL currently has over 12,000 undergraduate and 8,000 postgraduate students. Its annual income is over £600 million. For further information see: www.ucl.ac.uk