Restore rivers more rapidly in flood risk ‘hotspots’, Assembly urges

14 February 2014

The London Assembly today passed a motion[[1]] urging the Mayor to prioritise funding to restore rivers in the capital, helping to cut the risk of further flooding.

Restoring many of London’s rivers and flood basins to their natural state would help protect the 24,000 homes in the capital at risk of river flooding.

Jenny Jones AM, who proposed the motion, said:

“We send our sympathy to the victims of the recent flooding across the UK. This motion is designed to put pressure on the Mayor to take action here in London. River restoration is not the only way to cut the risk of flooding but it does make a significant difference and the projects proposed need to be hurried along, in light of recent events.”

Steve O’Connell AM, who seconded the motion, said:

“Seeing my constituents in distress, because of the flooding, is something I hope to never see again. The Mayor has truly stepped up, putting together the beginnings of a strategy to protect against any future exceptional weather, but I want to see him go further. In the same way the people of Croydon have gone above and beyond to help each other. This motion asks the Mayor to find more funds to prevent flooding and provide extra protection to many of our rivers and flood basins.”

The full text of the motion agreed at today’s meeting reads as follows: 

“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.”

Notes to editors:

1.        The motion was passed unanimously at a meeting of the full Assembly today. Watch the webcast.

2.        As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

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Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.