An unpublished review by London Underground that was recently reported on by The Guardian has highlighted that significant number of underground tube stations are considered to be a ‘high risk' for flooding. Comments on the report included a warning that up to 85 sites (including 57 stations) were likely to be affected and it would only be ‘a matter of time' before a serious incident involving flooding occurs.
The London Underground is one of the busiest metro systems in the world, and serious flood damage on this scale could lead to many long term and significant problems, potentially costing millions to repair.
A Matter of Safety
The speed at which flooding can escalate also calls into question the safety of the system's many millions of travellers - a topic that was brought into the public conscience after the flooding of New York's metro during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A flood restoration project covering such a large area is further complicated by the fact it is underground, and so causes additional concerns for safety.
Climate change is cited to be the most likely reason for the increase in flood risk, with the UK's general lack of preparedness being a particularly aggravating factor. A total of £3million has been requested to work on analysing the areas at highest risk, but the concern is that for such a large area this won't be enough when factoring in other issues like passenger disruption and widespread flood restoration required post-incident.
Government Needs to Act
Industry observers have voiced concern that action will only come after a serious incident, with a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth tell The Guardian that Government may finally act only after flooding has put parts of London Underground under water.
Damage to LU's business network isn't the only issue that is concerning; extensive flooding can cause toxic materials to become a threat to people in close contact, pushing the scope for damage even wider.
In the case of serious flooding, restoration is often time sensitive. Find out more here.