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London needs flood risk overhaul after July 2021 floods left people homeless, report says

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An overhaul of flood management in London is needed, a report says, a year after dramatic floods left people homeless.

About double the average rainfall for the month fell on July 12 and July 25, with about 1,500 properties affected.

Many of those whose homes were flooded still cannot return home a year later.

The London Flood Review report, commissioned by Thames Water, found a mishmash of organizations had varying levels of responsibility, making it “confusing” to respond to heavy rains.

London boroughs are responsible for some types of flooding within their borough boundaries, such as surface flooding, but water often flows through neighboring boroughs.

Meanwhile, the Environment Agency is responsible for major river flooding, while Thames Water is responsible for sewer flooding.

“As a result, the system can be extremely complex, and it can be tempting and easy to shift blame to someone else,” the report found.

“In situations where it’s raining so much, however, this attitude can be unnecessary and put people’s lives at risk.”

He recommended that a pan-London body be established between all parties to jointly assess the risk of surface water flooding and sewer flooding.

He also said CCTV cameras and monitors across the city could be used to assess the depth of the water and how quickly it is rising so crews can divert flows from high-risk areas, among other things. recommendations.

The investigation revealed that the heavy rains caused some sewer systems to overflow, while in other cases the drains on the road could not cope with the volume of water, leading to surface flooding, or a combination of both.

He also found that one of the biggest problems before the flood was that it was initially classified only as a “yellow” risk, meaning “little opportunity for typical preparedness actions”.

Mike Woolgar, chairman of the London Flood Review, warned that climate change was making many existing methods of drainage management less effective.

“Events in July 2021 are likely to be indicative of events we may see more frequently in the future,” he said.

“Our review of these events demonstrates the critical nature of collaborative working among all those who bear responsibility for water and flood risk management.”