It’s time to invest in a good pair of wellies. And possibly a scuba mask. We don’t want to alarm you, but according to information from the Environment Agency, there are now around 534,000 properties in London on the Thames floodplain, and one in four London properties are at risk of flooding. The Agency’s 2013 national flood risk assessment shows that London boroughs now dominate the local authorities with most properties at risk from river and tidal flooding. Hammersmith and Fulham, Southwark, Newham and Wandsworth are among those that have a high number of properties at risk. If you look under ‘flood maps’ at you can see that water could soon be lapping the fringes of Trafalgar Square, whilst the Queen may soon be looking out over a stretch of the Westminster Riviera.
Map from the interactive Sea Level Rise explorer.
However, the kind people at the EA assured us that 448,000 (84%) of those properties on the floodplain actually have a low likelihood of flooding, due to protection from tidal defences and the Thames Barrier. News is not so good for those in Merton, Richmond-upon-Thames, or Waltham Forest, which have the highest number of properties with a significant likelihood of flooding (from rivers rather than the sea). The rather dampening watery news was compounded by another report this week, from Ice 2 Sea, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says that by 2100 a storm surge in the Thames estuary could could breach existing flood defences and deluge the capital. A single ticket to the Scottish Highlands, anyone? Rebecca Taylor
Check out your area now at environment-agency.gov.uk.