Large parts of east London could be regularly flooded by 2030, a risk map predicts.
The tool developed by independent group Climate Central shows which areas are projected to be below the annual flood level each decade through to 2100.
The risk map predicts almost the entire bank of the Thames is at risk by 2030, particularly north-east London.
– Credit: Climate Central / Google Maps
Canary Wharf and Poplar in Tower Hamlets, most of Newham and Barking and Dagenham, Rainham and surrounding areas in Havering and parts of Redbridge are among the vulnerable areas.
Climate Central, which researches and reports on the climate crisis and how it affects people’s lives, says its sea level rise and coast flood maps outside the US are based on global-scale datasets for elevation, tides, and coastal flood likelihoods.
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However, the Environment Agency has said the group’s prediction is “inaccurate and unsuitable to inform local coastal flood risk” and “does not take into account extensive efforts taken to prevent such severe incidents in the future.”
In its overview about the tool, Climate Central says: “As these maps incorporate big datasets, which always include some error, these maps should be regarded as screening tools to identify places that may require deeper investigation of risk.”
It notes the maps are not based on physical storm and flood simulations and do not take into account factors such as future changes in the frequency or intensity of storms, or contributions from rainfall or rivers.
The projections come with east London hit hard by flash flooding already this summer.
A researcher at Imperial College London told this newspaper that urban flooding like that seen this summer occurs when the drainage network is overwhelmed by an unusually large quantity of rain.
Dr Barnaby Dobson, research associate at the university’s Faculty of Engineering, noted the 40mm of rain which fell on July 25 was “quite extreme”.
A higher level of rainfall in London would be expected on just 0.035 per cent of days, based on the capital’s cumulative climate data to the year 2000.
Using the data for the two decades to 2020, this figure rises to 0.05pc according to Dr Dobson.