BBC Weather issues warning for floods across parts of Europe
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The London mayor warned of the ‘catastrophic’ effects that floods and overheating could have on the city last month. Data analysed by London’s City Hall and Bloomberg Associates showed that six London boroughs, including Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham and Islington, are at especially high risk from the effects of climate change They revealed that 10 percent of the capital’s rail network and one in four stations are at high risk of flooding in the future, based on predictions that the flood risk will grow as the climate warms.
The United Nations Environment Programme previously detailed how “floods are made more likely by the more extreme weather patterns caused by long-term global climate change”.
And that poses a huge problem for engineers at Transport For London (TfL).
Asad Rehman, a spokesperson for the COP26 Coalition, told the Financial Times: “Such extreme weather impacts show how vulnerable much of our existing infrastructure is even in cities like London are.”
Dragan Savic, professor of hydroinformatics at the University of Exeter, explained how, as the capital has grown, “we’ve concreted or asphalted over most of the land in the city”.
This means that there is “less capacity to soak up the rain that comes down”.
TfL is said to have produced a 2016 report that warned it was “only a matter of time” before the Underground was hit by severe flooding.
It identified 57 stations at “high risk” of flooding, including King’s Cross, London Bridge, Waterloo, Finsbury Park, Notting Hill Gate, Seven Sisters, Colliers Wood, Stockwell and Marble Arch.
And a 2018 version of the same GLA report is said to have found that 20 stations were susceptible to a flood so severe it is expected to happen only once every 100 years.
It noted: “Floodwater getting into underground stations presents a particular hazard and a major engineering problem if the floodwaters were to enter tube tunnels.”
In 2015, the ‘London Sustainable Drainage Action Plan’ was announced by the former Mayor, Boris Johnson, to “address a specific need to promote the awareness, and the retrofitting, of sustainable drainage systems right across London”.
But it is a long-term strategy and experts have identified more that needs to be done in the meantime.
Ahead of the COP26 climate summit in November, the Mayor of London delivered a keynote speech at the Barbican Centre where he launched a city-wide campaign to inspire all Londoners, including businesses, to take “bold action” on climate change.
Mr Khan said: “In the year of COP26, a new environment bill and new targets set by the WHO for toxic air, London is at a crossroads. We either take bold action now or face the consequences – with catastrophic impacts on our environment, the air we breathe and the climate.
“I’m determined for London to be a world leader in tackling the twin dangers of air pollution and the climate emergency so that we can deliver a brighter future for London – one that’s greener, fairer and more prosperous for everyone.
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“But I can’t do it all alone. That’s why I’m launching my city-wide campaign to inspire all Londoners – individuals, businesses and communities – to take action. I also want to work with the government to unlock the powers and funding needed to meet our targets, which will help deliver national targets too.”
Mr Khan says he is doing everything in his power to help as the Environment Agency holds the strategic overview role for all forms of flood risk on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
He has called for the government to devolve more funding and powers to local leaders to enable them to better tackle flooding across the capital.
MrKhan recently met with key partners, including London Councils, TfL, the London Fire Brigade, water companies and the Environment Agency to look at what more can be done to prevent and reduce the impact of flooding in the capital.
And Tfl is also taking steps to prepare for any flooding risk and mitigate future impacts.
A spokesman previously told Express.co.uk: “TfL Chairs the Transport Adaptation Steering Group, which is made up of London’s transport authorities, plus Thames Water and Environmental Agency (EA) to exchange knowledge and best practice.”
The company also collaborates with the Met Office and has conducted a comprehensive review of flood risk across the Tube’s “most vulnerable assets”.
In the event of extreme weather, TfL has an “Emergency Response Unit” to implement local emergency plans including the installation of flood-boards, flood sacks and portable pumps.
They will also close affected lines, stations and depots “to keep customers and staff safe”.
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