Managing and reducing flood risk

We are responding to the rising risk of flooding with a series of measures to better understand the threat, protect critical infrastructure and vulnerable communities and increase the capabilities and resilience of how we deal with flooding.

The rising risk of flooding

Climate change will bring wetter winters with more extreme downpours, rising sea levels and higher tidal surges. All of which increases flood risk for London significantly.

Sea levels are set to rise by a metre by 2100.

London is already vulnerable to flooding. Some 15% of London lies on river floodplains and within this area lies much of the infrastructure we rely on day to day and in emergencies – 49 railway stations, 75 underground stations and 10 hospitals. Around 680,000 London properties are at risk of surface water flooding, including properties in some of then poorest neighbourhoods.

How we’re responding

Our key measures to manage flood risk include:

  • Identifying how climate change will increase the extent, depth and frequency of flooding.
  • Identifying national, regional and local critical infrastructure and vulnerable communities.
  • Identifying which waterside (riparian) areas should be protected from flooding, which can be used to store flood water and which should accept flooding (while increasing the overall resilience and emergency response).
  • Identifying critical drainage areas
  • Understanding how to increase the water-absorbing permeability of the city – its streets, paved areas and so forth.

The London Plan provides:

  • The land use policy basis for assessing flood risk and in particular promotes:
    • greater emphasis on flood resilience
    • sustainable drainage techniques
    • increased coordination between land use planning and emergency planning.