Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 21st September 2022.
Does London have enough resilience and preparedness to stop the loss of life and property to fires, floods and other extreme climate events during the climate emergency?
We’re seeing more frequent, extreme events due to climate change, and my team has been working to support Londoners - through, for example, our cool spaces network, the roundtable we established following last year's floods, and our work in July to leaflet 45,000 basement properties to warn them of flooding danger and advise residents on how to prepare. We are now forming a pan-London group to oversee the development of London’s first citywide strategy to manage flash flooding.
The London Resilience Partnership is well prepared for extreme weather and regularly reviews procedures and updates the London Risk Register. Revised procedures after last summer’s flooding enabled swifter collective responses to this year’s weather events.
We are in regular contact with Thames Water and Ofwat, calling for them to invest in London’s water infrastructure and cut wasteful leakage. This has unlocked hundreds of millions of investment.
But as the Climate Change Committee continues to stress, more is needed to adapt the UK to climate change. Recent heatwaves show how ill-suited our buildings are to rising temperatures; yet there is still no legal requirement to fit homes, schools, hospitals or care homes for our changing climate. We need to install shading, better ventilation and reflective roofs, alongside the insulation needed to improve energy performance and keep us warm in winter.
The government must overhaul building regulations, strengthen planning policies and fund widespread building retrofit; starting with those most vulnerable, so we can adapt to the climate emergency.