As another record-breaking storm heads to our shores, East Enders are appalled by the flood damage in the rest of the country, but we are also aware that the East End of London is one huge flood plain. Thanks to the huge public sector investment in the Thames Barrier, inaugurated under Ken Livingston’s administration, we have some measure of protection. That is just as well, since not only homes, but huge investments in the financial and technical sector in London’s docklands would be at risk if it were not there.
In contrast, while the head of the government’s Environment Agency is a “Climate Change Sceptic,” even more dangerous is that he represents a government that is skeptical about the value of public investment. The floods are not just a product of climate change, they are also the result of a conservative climate of opinion that sees cuts as the solution to all problems. The Environment Agency reduced the dredging programme.
Tower Hamlets will do what it can, but with the accelerating pace of Climate Change, we need to look to the future and invest more in our infrastructure to prepare for the eventuality of floods and pre-emptive planning to lower the risks to our homes and jobs.