Environment

A third of London Underground stations at ‘high risk of flooding’

57 underground stations are at risk of being submerged. Image: Petr Kratochvil, creative commons CC0 licence, public domain. At publicdomainpictures.net.

57 underground stations are at risk of being submerged. Image: Petr Kratochvil, creative commons CC0 licence, public domain.

A new report says it’s ‘only a matter of time’ before serious flooding strikes a London Underground station.

The report by The London Underground Comprehensive Review of Flood Risk identifies 85 ‘high-risk’ sites.

57 are stations and the rest are shafts and tunnel entrances.

The stations in the top 10 of highest risk include Finsbury Park, Notting Hill Gate, Seven Sisters, Colliers Wood, Stockwell and Marble Arch.

Particularly busy stations like Waterloo, King’s Cross and London Bridge were also flagged up as being susceptible.

The LUCRFR report noted:

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.

Flood incidents are expensive to put right and can cause disruption to passengers.

The LU report also warns of potential dangers to Tube users.

The rapid nature of flooding events often produces high safety consequences.

The report was funded after Hurricane Sandy swamped the metro in New York City in 2012. Image: MTASNY on Flickr. Creative commons licence.

The LU report was funded after Hurricane Sandy swamped the metro in New York City in 2012. Image: MTASNY on Flickr. Creative commons licence.

Al Riddell explains why many London Underground stations are said to be at risk.

Rainwater flooding regularly causes delays, and some lines were forced to close in 2015 because of it.

And ruptured water mains affect the tube an average of five times a year.

In 2012, one incident sent 3 million litres of water down a ventilation shaft between Mile End and Stratford, forcing the Central line to close for 26 hours.

The findings of the report have caused concern with many putting the lack of recent flooding incidents down to good luck.

Bob Ward, a member of the London Climate Change Partnership and policy director at the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics at the London School of Economics, said:

This is a shocking report that reveals the massive number of tube stations and sites at high risk of flooding.

While it is good that LU is now aware of the scale of the risks, it is worrying that more has not been done to make the tube system more resilient to flooding.

London has just been lucky that it has not been struck by a major flash flood recently.

George McInulty, LU’s programme director for renewals, said they are working on ways to improve the situation.

Like other metros around the world, we examine the risk of flooding and other issues that might affect the smooth running of the Tube service and what we can do to mitigate these.

Some parts of the Underground network are prone to flooding and we are investigating what more we can do to minimise any potential disruption this causes to our customers.

Embed from Getty Images

A man emerges from Piccadilly tube station during heavy rainfall.

For advice about dealing with flooding, click here. 

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