A review into the flash flooding that affected London in July 2021 reveals its findings early this year.
The London Flood Review seeks to better understand the extent and causes of these floods, to assess how the drainage systems performed, and to recommend how the increasing risks of future flooding events can be managed.
Commissioned by Thames Water, the independent review will play an integral part in ensuring the company future-proofs its infrastructure to protect its customers, their communities and the environment as severe weather events look set to become the norm across the UK.
The review will also play an important role in improving future collaborative working between all parties responsible for managing future flooding risks. As part of its focus, the review will provide insights on London’s wider drainage infrastructure and broader recommendations that could be adopted by all organisations with surface water management responsibilities.
The London Flood Review is being led by an independent expert group (IEG) of external specialists to ensure objectivity and impartiality, chaired by leading water strategist Mike Woolgar and supported by flood modelling expert Professor Roger Falconer and city resilience expert Lykke Leonardsen, from Copenhagen.
To assist with the review, the IEG has established a strategic stakeholder panel (SSP) which helped shape the objectives and will provide input, guidance and feedback, and help deliver its recommendations where appropriate. This group comprises senior representatives from the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, London Councils, the London Drainage Engineers Group, the Environment Agency, the Consumer Council for Water, the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. Ofwat will also join the SSP to act as an observer throughout the process. Although the review is independent, Thames Water will continue to work as part of the SSP to provide necessary information and progress updates.
Chair Mr Woolgar said: “The extreme flooding London experienced this past summer is likely indicative of events we may see more of under climate change. Flooding like this is frightening for those affected and the mess, losses and damages for so many people underlines just how important this review is.
“I look forward to bringing my experience and that of my fellow Review Group members to establish how and why the flooding occurred so we can help ensure the capital’s drainage systems are as resilient as possible in the face of our changing weather patterns.”
Thames Water spokesman Warren Buckley added: “We welcome and support the London Flood Review, led by Mike Woolgar. The severe weather patterns that led to some of the flooding incidents this summer look likely to become the new normal for the UK.
“While we can’t prevent every flood from happening, we know that we can do better and we must invest in resources today in order to build greater resilience tomorrow. This independent review will be at the heart of driving future improvements at Thames Water, and we hope it will also prove valuable for all authorities with surface water management responsibilities.”
The final report will be presented at a public session in the first half of 2022 with interim reports provided ahead of this, at key stages of the review. Both the interim and final reports will be made available at londonfloodreview.co.uk.