According to a report issued to the Mayor of London by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, substantial efforts need to be made in order to protect local businesses and communities from increasing flood risks.
The report highlighted the social and financial impact of heavy rain and floods on London, with serious damage likely in the future. They state that the city has so far survived by chance in avoiding intense rainfall. In the future, such rainfall could cause widespread flooding.
Why is London at such a high risk of flooding? Widespread areas containing impermeable pavements and roads increase its risk of damage to property and even lives. The Association of British Insurers informed the committee of their concern about London’s ill-prepared flood strategies, noting that the widespread flood that hit the United Kingdom in 2007 would cause a considerably larger amount of damage if it hit London, costing tens of billions for the city, as opposed to the 3 billion it cost the UK.
The report points out several ways the Mayor could strengthen the capital’s flood defense including: better communication of flood risks and how to structure architecture to ensure safety in an emergency, improving drainage, and an action plan to restore 15 kilometers of their rivers by 2015.
They even suggest to look further than central government public grants in order to fund these schemes, noting there is a variety of beneficial flood protection projects and new funding sources that could simplify the necessary work. Strong leadership and open communication between the government and its citizens is one of the most important ways in preparing for a flood and understanding what kinds of precautions to take.
If the city you live in is at risk from flooding, would you say it has a good flood preparedness action plan in place?