Brett's Celebrity Total Washout

Leicestershire-based manufacturer Brett Landscaping had a bit of a lark recently: they unleashed hundreds of litres of water onto an expanse of Omega Concrete Block Permeable Paving ( CBPP ) and watched the whole lot disappear in seconds.

The plan was to demonstrate just how bloody effective CBPP can be when it comes to dealing with a sudden deluge of near biblical proportions (like we had here the other night). So, they brought along a tanker wagon filled to the brim with 1,800 litres of water and emptied the lot, in minutes, onto a small section of the 52,000 m² Sixfields site in Northampton. For those not familiar with the area, Sixfields lies on the floodplain of the River Nene and used to be a landfill site. It was capped and paved over in 2004 using a Type C (zero infiltration) permeable system specified to ensure none of the nastikemmickles and other muck could leach out and pollute local watercourses. Brett Omega was selected as the paving layer for its proven performance.

Naturally, you want some sort of celebrity around when you do this sort of stunt, as everyone knows that no event can be said to have truly taken place unless witnessed by a celebrity, and so they brought along a man skilled at talking balls, ex-England Footballist, Tony Cottee, who now works as a brand spokesman (??) for groundwork and civils distributor, Rudridge .

And it was the aforesaid Leg End who turned the tap thereby emptying the tanker and flooding the pavement for just a few seconds before it drank it up like a bar-room sponge. Ably assisting the West Ham and Everton striker was Rudridge director, Alan Betteridge, who seems to know a good photo opportunity when he sees one.

the guilty party
Pictured L-R Robert Rudd, Duane Long, Tony Cottee and Alan Betteridge

Anyway, within seconds of the last drips falling from the tanker spigot, all that could be seen on the surface of the Omega paving was a damp patch rough 2m in diameter. Not bad, especially when you consider that it had been pis …raining quite heavily for several days before the test.

Andrew Gill, marketing manager of Brett Landscaping, said:

"Against a backdrop of increasing emphasis on Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), the test at Sixfields showed how effectively concrete block permeable paving from Brett Landscaping can handle runoff and lessen the risk of flooding. It's important to note that the site was able to comfortably absorb such a large amount of water despite the joints around the blocks being silted up. The site at Sixfields receives only limited maintenance - an annual sweeping and weedkiller application - and is only open to traffic 25 times a year when it is used as a car park. Yet despite the inevitable silting resulting from this, the permeable paving still worked superbly despite an incredibly wet first half of the year."

Wanna see it for yourself? Brett's YouTube Channel

I've skipped Parts 1 and 2 because, well because they are brain-numbingly boring. Who wants to watch water spurting out of a tanker for four minutes? And despite what the cynics may think, the water is NOT running off, out of shot, to the left of the camera. It is being swallowed by the paving. All of it. The whole 1,800 litres. Not a bother!

The tanker. Brilliant!

OK, so it's the not the most stunning video ever to extol the potential of CBPP. Panning the camera would have added interest, and a shot of the celebrity guest actually doing his turn (literally) would have helped, but it's a good demonstration of just how capable this system can be, and a timely reminder as we approach the even-wetter part of the year that permeable paving in general and CBPP in particular have an important role to play in managing urban surface water.