London Flood Review concludes

London Flood Review concludes - image by Giammarco on Unsplash

The London Flood Review has concluded and made recommendations for the capital’s future flooding resilience. 

The independent review, commissioned by Thames Water, examined the severe flooding that affected many parts of London in July 2021.

The release of the investigation’s final report marks the fourth and final publication from the London Flood Review (LFR) which sought to better understand the extent and causes of last summer’s floods as well as assess drainage system performance and recommend how the increasing risks of future flooding events could be managed.

The review has found that the speed and severity of rainfall which fell during two storms was the main cause of the flooding, with both rainfall events exceeding the current design capacity of the below ground systems. 

The LFR acknowledged weather events such as those that occurred in July 2021 are likely to occur more frequently in the future. 

Consequently, as flooding is not any one organisation’s responsibility, the review said the many parties which manage flood risk in the capital must work together to identify solutions to manage multiple sources of flooding and identify potential funding to ensure that the impacts of flooding are managed effectively. 

LFR chair Mike Woolgar said: “Climate change is making many existing ways of managing drainage less effective. 

“The events of July 2021 are likely to be indicative of events we may see more frequently in the future. Our review of these events demonstrates the critical nature of collaborative working between all those who bear responsibility for water and flood risk management. 

“We’ve set out a number of recommendations, and while we recognise that there are limitations as to what may be achieved with the current funding and resources available, there is important work to be done in balancing the benefits they provide to customers at risk, and on the costs required to build and operate mitigation assets. 

“Partnership working can bring different funding streams, so we recommend that flood risk organisations actively seek these in the future. I look forward to seeing the recommendations taken forward by those named within the report.”

The LFR’s recommendations are based around five themes - governance, funding, evidence, communications and strategic planning.

Recommendations include establishing a body with a strategic view and governance with all parties contributing so that surface water and sewer systems can be assessed together, and investments designed to optimise outcome across different organisational boundaries. 

Others include seeking opportunities for partnership working in areas of known flood risk to spread the cost of potential schemes and using data and digital tools to assess sewer network performance more rapidly and prioritise responses in extreme events. 

Supporting homeowners and tenants to understand how they can protect their homes from flooding, including opportunities to build in resilience, was also recommended.

And protecting those at highest risk of flooding by installing anti-flood devices such as non-return valves, Flooding Local Improvement Projects (FLIPs) or flood gates where appropriate depending on careful assessment of the causes of flooding was also among the key proposals.

Thames Water and other stakeholders will now review the recommendations and work to implement them 

Click here to read the full report. 

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