Wandsworth Council leader hits out at Thames Water after flash flooding

The leader of Wandsworth Council has condemned Thames Water for failing to improve drainage systems in Battersea following severe flash flooding in the area on Sunday.

Councillor Ravi Govindia said that Thames Water had been aware of the problem for decades and failed to act on it.

Buses were forced to stop as roads were blocked by Queenstown Road station, as huge rainfall on Sunday caused flash floods across the capital.

Govindia said: “Thames Water have simply abandoned their responsibilities and left residents and shopkeepers in states of high anxiety every time there is a weather warning.

“It is an intolerable situation and needs to be put right without any further delay.”

In a letter to residents from 1998, Thames Water said that the flooding occurred because the area was low-lying and flat and the sewage pipes were sloped downwards.

Govindia claimed the company’s poor customer service made reporting floods difficult.

“I have been told that, ridiculously, they do not accept a report of flooding unless you do so within 24 hours,” he added.

The flash flooding in London over the weekend was the second instance this month, as periods of extreme heat gave way to torrential thunderstorms.

Raynes Park and Richmond station were among the areas hit the hardest as flash floods struck on 12 July.

Amy, 25, moved to Wandsworth five months ago, and was minutes away from some of the most severe flash flooding.

She said: “At the time it was very scary. There were some warnings it would continue and I was considering staying elsewhere.

“I couldn’t believe this kind of thing happened in London.”

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “The extreme weather which caused widespread flooding has been devastating for many people, and we sympathise with everyone affected.

“Having flood water in your home or garden, or in the street outside is really distressing, and we continue to visit customers across London to help them get their lives back to normal.

“We’ve been cleaning roads, pavements and properties in Battersea since Sunday, and had three further clean-up crews in the area yesterday, and we will be back today if needed.

“We’re trying to get to everyone as quickly as possible but due to the scale of the flooding, this is taking a little longer than normal in some cases. Our call centre is also exceptionally busy and we’re really sorry if you’ve had to wait a long time to speak to someone.

“We share flood risk responsibilities with a range of organisations across London, including local councils, highways authorities and the Environment Agency, and we look forward to continuing working with them on viable and sustainable solutions to combat two of the main causes of flooding – climate change and population growth.

“At Nine Elms in Battersea we’ve built a new 1.1km surface water sewer which takes the pressure off the combined network, installed new two pumping stations, and created 2,265m3 of ‘attenuation’ which stores and slowly releases storm water back into the sewer system.”

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