Lockton warns over emerging ‘super basement’ flood risk

In response to last week’s London Assembly Flood report, which urges London Mayor Sadiq Khan to invest £1 billion In flood prevention measures, Lockton has raised concerns over current building trends.

“The London Assembly Environment Committee has urged the mayor to invest £1bn into flood prevention in the capital,” said Gregg Cordell, senior vice president at Lockton.

“Severe weather, driven by climate change, combined with decisions made by urban planners and developers, has made flood an increasing threat for Londoners. An additional, exacerbating factor is the trend of adding basements to both new and existing properties and refurbishing existing subterranean spaces. This is an increasingly prevalent phenomenon throughout the city, affecting both residential and commercial properties and includes ‘super basements’ which have grown increasingly popular through their celebrity appeal.”

The report from the London Assembly Environment Committee said the Mayor must improve the capital’s sustainable drainage system (SuDS).

The committee added that the Mayor should call together the key partners, such as the Environment Agency, Transport for London, the London Fire Brigade and Government ministries each year to re-evaluate London’s preparedness for future surface water flooding events.

The Mayor should also expand communication to raise awareness to all Londoners at risk and explain the consequences of paving over or replacing their green space with artificial grass, the report said.

Cordell added that, while we cannot forecast the precise impact a flood will have on a property, there are steps to mitigate harm by developing a resilience strategy:

“Targeted communication to residents and businesses on how best to prepare for a flood is vital and many mitigation steps such as moving plug sockets to above the anticipated water line to regularly checking gutters are clear, are inexpensive. Appropriate insurance cover at an appropriate price is part of that preparation. But there’s plenty more that can be done to protect properties from extreme weather and the government and organisations have a duty to ensure the capital is prepared.”