Boris criticised on London flood risk management

Boris Johnson needs to act on the 'serious risk' of flooding if London faces severe rainfall, a new report from the London Assembly says today (July 22).

Regardless of the Thames Barrier, in the south east of the capital, the London Assembly’s Environment Committee claim some street could flood from rain ‘within minutes’.

In ‘For a Rainy Day’ the committee fear rain fall equal to that other parts of the country experienced in 2007 could flood roads within minutes and rivers soon after.

According to the report ‘lives could be lost’ and damage to property could amount to ‘tens of billions of pounds’.

Environment Committee deputy chair, Darren Johnson, said: “It is pure luck London has so far escaped the kind of flooding that devastated other parts of the country in 2007, and we know climate change makes severe rainstorms more likely in the future.

“To protect lives and help prevent extensive property damage, Londoners need to be better informed about flood risk and the mayor must lead on ensuring everything possible is done to protect people’s homes and businesses.”

Mr Johnson went onto explain the capital is particularly susceptible to flooding because it is so built up and water quickly gets into drains and rivers.

Once these are full, water floods across the land’s surface putting up to 680,000 properties in the capital at risk from surface water flooding.

The report goes on to state it is just ‘chance’ London has so far escaped rainfall severe enough to cause widespread flooding, and warns that climate change increases the annual likelihood of severe rainstorms.

A spokeswoman for the mayor office said: “The mayor welcomes input from the London Assembly, but does not have formal responsibility over the management of flooding in London – this lies with the boroughs and the Environment Agency.

“However, he does recognise flooding is a significant risk for some Londoners and would have an impact on the capital as a place to live and work.

“This is why we have been working closely with the boroughs and relevant Government agencies to ensure businesses and residents in areas particularly at risk, can be prepared.

“London Resilience, which ensures the readiness of London in an emergency is also working with partners on flood plans for London.”

Luke Walsh

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