Merton is prepared for flooding


The council will be ready to tackle any potential floods in the future


By Sam Dale, Alex Winter, Tom Barclay, Charles Forrester and Louisa Blair

Merton residents are being reassured by their council that it will be ready for potential floods, with a flood plan by 2010.

The Greater London Authority’s Emergency Planning department confirmed all London boroughs require a plan following recent disastrous flooding in the UK.

A spokesperson said: “We are working with DEFRA [Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] to complete the planning stage of multi-agency flood plans before the end of the year.”

A comprehensive response is required from a wide range of organisations to deal with flooding and its consequences, according to the government Cabinet Office.

The council’s current corporate severe weather plan takes the Emergency Agency’s rivers and sea flooding advice.

The Environment Agency says parts of Merton, between South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood, have significant flood risk and several areas are rated as moderate.

St George’s Hospital, Tooting, is confident in its ability to deal with a flood.

“We’re certainly not worried that we couldn’t handle it,” said a hospital spokesperson.

Graeme Trudgill, Technical and Corporate Affairs Executive for The British Insurance Brokers’ Association, says he welcomes the GLA plans.

Mr Trudgill said: “If a property has less than a one in 75 risk of being flooded, it should not affect premiums as long as owners take responsibility to minimise the risk of flood damage.”

This includes re-pitching flat roofs so they don’t give way under heavy rainfall.

Technical Advisor from the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, Danny Davis, thinks the dangers of flooding are very serious.

“Water and electricity do not make good bed partners,” he said.

“There’s a risk that there could be water contamination, and if people are worried they should call a professional plumber to help them sort out the problem.”

The recent flood tragedies to sweep across Cumbria broke national records leading to the death of PC Bill Barker after a Cockermouth bridge collapsed.

The force of the flooding river swept PC Barker away as he was diverting traffic from the dangerous bridge, and his body was found 15 miles away after seven hours.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said predicting the weather is not an exact science and can never be guaranteed.

They advise moving valuable items to higher levels and potentially dangerous objects inside prior to flooding.

They also suggest buying bottled water in case of contamination and placing sandbags anywhere that water could enter the house. 

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