City leaders call for action to stop London sinking

Click to follow
The Independent Online
City leaders call for action to stop London sinking

London's business and political leaders united yesterday to urge the Government to act over the rise in London's ground water levels which could cause widespread damage to communications systems, property and the underground. The city lies on a water basin and ground water is rising by as much as three metres a year. The damage could begin within five to ten years and cost billions of pounds.

A coalition including Sir Roger Cork, the Lord Mayor of London, and the chairman of the London Underground, Peter Ford, has written to the John Prescott asking him to take overall responsibility for implementing a "water policy". London Underground already has to deal with regular flooding in parts of its network and has to pump 14 million litres of water from the system every day.

From 1850 for about 100 years, industries abstracted water from their own use, keeping the water table manageably low. But in the Sixties, heavy users either relocated out of London or closed down. Water levels have risen by 35m in 30 years. Kate Watson-Smyth

Flash floods left a number of villages isolated and several roads closed in central Scotland last night. In Lanarkshire the village of Shotts was reported to be under a foot of water.