New targeted Thames flood warnings

Residents and businesses on the Southwark and Lambeth riverside will receive better targeted flood warnings for the tidal Thames as changes are made to the Environment Agency's flood warning service.

Most of SE1 is at a small risk of flooding from the tidal Thames. Until now the 60 km stretch of the River Thames from Teddington in the west to Dartford Creek in the east has been covered by just four flood warning areas.

Now the number of flood warning areas along the tidal Thames has been increased from four to 19, meaning that people living in these neighbourhoods will know immediately when a warning is relevant to them.

In flood planning terms SE1 falls within the Bermondsey embayment which covers the area south of the river between the River Wandle and Deptford Creek.

The Environment Agency publishes a flood map to show which areas are at risk of flooding and are protected by flood defences.

"Previously, the flood warning areas in London covered very large areas both north and south of the Thames, with only four flood warning areas being available to service the 340,000 properties in the Tidal Thames floodplain," explains Eamonn Forde, the Environment Agency's tidal Thames flood incident management team leader.

"This is why we are making the updates to the new flood warning areas, making them more specific to London boroughs. That way people will know immediately when a warning is relevant to them, and be able to prepare more efficiently for flood events."

The last major central London flood from the Thames was in 1928.

More recently some of the SE1 riverside at Bankside and Butler's Wharf saw minor flooding in 2005.

When the Bankside riverside area north of Bankside Power Station was relandscaped in connection with the opening of Tate Modern, the flood defences were removed from the immediate riverbank and replaced by a contour that lies about 10 metres back and is achieved by gradually rising ground levels.

London has a Flood Response Strategic Plan which examines the risk of flooding from the Thames and sets out actions for various public authorities in the event of such a flood.

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