A new, unpublished report on flood risk to London’s Tube shows that 57 of its busiest subway stations are at high risk of flooding, including Waterloo, King’s Cross, and London Bridge. The report finds the risk of flooding is increasing due to climate change, which has resulted in more frequent heavy rainfall in the UK. The report, obtained by the Guardian, concludes that:
London has been fortunate to escape the worst of recent storm events in the UK, but it is only a matter of time before heavy rainfall seriously affects London and the underground network. The risk is generally expected to increase [as] climate change predictions are that storms will become more intense. There is some evidence to show that these have already increased in frequency.
This new report was commissioned after Hurricane Sandy shut down parts of New York City’s subway system in 2012.
Rainwater flooding already causes regular delays and even closed some lines several times in 2015. To prepare, the London Underground (LU) plans to start analyzing the most at risk stations during the next three years and to “begin to install protective measures.” But LU’s head drainage engineer, commenting on this preliminary effort’s budget, said that “£3m is not going to scratch the surface of it.” The Guardian points out that the Cameron government has decreased money spent on preparing the UK for climate change impacts by almost half and reduced the number of staff working on this issue from 38 to 6.