This Assembly expresses its sympathy with those affected by the devastating floods across England. While the Thames Barrier protects most London homes from tidal flooding for the time being, we still face significant risks from surface water and river flooding. There are 24,000 homes at risk of river flooding, and we could help protect them by restoring many rivers and flood basins to their natural states, increasing their capacity to absorb and hold water. This can also benefit the local ecology and create new accessible open spaces for the local community.
This Assembly notes that the Mayor planned to restore 15km of local rivers by 2015 to reduce flood risks, and that 14km have already been delivered. There is potential for hundreds of kilometres to be restored, and the River Restoration Centre has already identified 63 projects around the capital which could reduce flood risks to thousands of homes. These would be delivered by the Environment Agency, boroughs and through local community action. Past projects have varied in cost between £104,000 and £18 million.
This Assembly therefore calls on the Mayor of London to identify funds to bring forward more river restoration projects in London as soon as possible, targeted to reduce the flood risk in the worst hotspots around London, and to work with partners to attract more external funding to complete the proposed projects across London.