Flash floods in London – Kensington & Chelsea investigates

In red we have the critical drainage areas in RBKC and in green the area most affected by the July floodings


Last night RBKC investigated the flash floods that hit London in July particularly in their neighbourhoods where we certainly had more resident participation.  On top of which we had representatives from  OFWAT, the regulator of Water Utilities in the UK and the Consumer Council for Water as well as  course Thames Water defending themselves along with local councillors. 

But first the impact the floods had in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Clearly the sewer system was unable to cope with the intense storms in July which was compounded by the high tide.  Altogether, some 25 streets were flooded, 220 residents re-housed with one block of flats completely surrounded by water and as well affected 3 schools. Some 25-50 local businesses were also affected and it has also had a major mental health toll as well. 

One of the popular demands of the evening from residents was why not enough FLIPs (Flooding Local Improvement Programme ) particularly pumps built into basement properties were not built into their homes after 2007 floods, a key element of the Counters Creek Sewer flooding Alleviation scheme proposal from 2014. 

It was interesting to note the tension between OFWAT and Thames Water and their recent performance is already an issue of concern for the regulator. Thames Water themselves accepted that their services were not good enough, largely due to its historic management and it would take some 8 years to turn it around again.  So watch this space! 

Finally the next borough scrutiny of the impact of the flash floods in West Central will be in Hammersmith & Fulham.  So far we have heard different stories of the impact of the flash flooding in West Central and how to deal with the many issues it highlights. 

7 thoughts on “Flash floods in London – Kensington & Chelsea investigates

  1. Gaynor Aaltonen

    Thanks Murad. There are huge technical and financial questions about FLIPS. Thames Water last night said each one costs c.£130,000. Which explains why they don’t put them in, before the pips are well and truly squeezed. However, where they are installed they also appear to worsen the flooding for nearby properties. I know of more than one house where the FLIP appears to have thrown back all the water/sewage into their neighbours’ homes. At the Hammersmith & Fulham meet it would be good not to waste too much time on individual residents’ requests for one, because it needs to be a ‘whole-system solution’. A more pertinent line of questioning would be ‘are private owners paying themselves for these FLIPs’, or ‘can these be installed privately (by firms independent of TW)’. If so, it’s a straightforward issue of inequality.

    1. Murad Post author

      I agree it needs to a whole system solutions as the Flips appeared to be in Counter Creeks Allieviation Scheme which was mentioned last night and will no doubt also in the Hammersmith & Fulham scrutiny of the flash floods in London during July.

    2. Jacqueline pruskin

      Only found your post, I agree with your thoughts and questions about the FLIPS

  2. molly ayton

    Hi Murad, I was at the meeting last night and it seemed to me that Thames Water was
    unable to say who will be conducting the independent inquiry .
    Surely we should know in order for them to see videos and hear our stories.
    In that way, they have the reality of the impact on us.

    1. Murad Post author

      I quite agree Molly.

      One of the councillors was right to pursue the actual program for the independent enquiry last night but l would have added who is actually conducting the independent inquiry and the make up of any Committee in charge of it. Similarly at the Scrutiny at Westminster Council this was not asked. For example, l would be very concerned if it was made up of people solely from the water industry as self-regulation has shown not work in other industries.

      It would be best for local creditability if Thames Water were completely hands off from it.

  3. Pingback: Flash Floods in London - Independent Review Update - Murad QureshiMurad Qureshi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *