River restoration remains crucial in London, as 14,000 homes risk being unprotected from ‘inevitable flooding’, experts have said.
The London Assembly (LA) has warned that while 24,000 properties in the capital are at significant risk of flooding, Environment Agency forecasts suggest plans currently under development could protect only 10,000 residences.
In a summary of discussions with experts from the Environment Agency and Greater London Authority, the LA’s Environment Committee heard climate change could increase the likelihood of flooding.
It is thought some 140,000 Londoners are currently at high risk of surface water flooding.
Environment Agency South East regional director, Howard Davidson, confirmed that the department had ‘current plans in place, which will need around £100m, over the next ten years’ for 10,000 of the 24,000 at risk properties.
However, Davidson told the Committee ‘I could see the Government putting in £50m, but it would need £50m of contributions to make that programme and work happen. That would reduce the risk.’
Chair of the Environment Committee, Murad Qureshi, said: ‘London needs to bring back its rivers to protect itself from inevitable flooding in the future. The more we can restore natural banks to London’s rivers, the less likely heavy rain will cause the degree of flooding we saw in the early part of this year.
‘Tens of thousands of properties are at high or medium risk of river flooding. This is not just from the Thames, but also from the many smaller rivers that flow into it.’