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Londoners facing imminent risk of tidal flooding

Publication date: Mar 21, 2006 12:16:11 PM

Leading academics will debate the risk of tidal flooding in London at the London Environment and its Future (LEAF) conference to be held at University of London's Senate House. Professors Edmund Penning-Rowsell and Dennis Parker from Middlesex University will join Environment Minister Michael Meacher and Mayor Ken Livingstone to present their paper outlining the vulnerability of flood protection afforded by the Thames Barrier System.

Tidal flooding represents London's most serious flood risk. Environmental changes are resulting in dramatic change in sea levels, changes that are not anticipated by the current tidal flood risk strategy. The Thames Water Barrier was designed to protect against extreme tidal surge events until 2030. However this estimate failed to take into account the accelerated pace of sea level rise due to global warming. Worse case scenarios estimate that by 2030 the Thames Water Barrier will only be 50% effective against the threat of floods.

The area protected by the Thames Water Barrier contains approximately one million permanent residents and half a million daily commuters. The tidal flood-prone area includes nearly the whole of London's re-developed Docklands and riverside areas between the City's financial district and Woolwich, both areas of major investment in the last 20 years.

Professor Penning-Roswell says: "Urgent action to plan against future flood risk is needed now. It is important the public is aware of this crucial issue so it can play its part in planning a safer future for London."

Notes to editors:

For further information, contact Heidi Foden, UCL Media Relations, 020 7679 7678.