In Brief

Almost a third of Tube stations 'at risk of flooding'

'Only a matter of time' before heavy rainfall strikes London's transport network, report warns

Nearly a third of London Underground (LU) stations are at an increasing risk of becoming flooded, according to an unpublished report obtained by The Guardian.

Out of 270 Tube stations, 57 are presently at a high risk and a further 23 are classified as having a "significant" flood risk, according to London Underground's risk analysis.

A total of 85 separate sites have been identified as being at a high risk of experiencing flooding, including transport hubs such as London Bridge, King's Cross and Waterloo.

More than half the stations on the Northern Line are at high risk and other highlighted sites include busy interchange stations such as Stockwell and Finsbury Park.

"It is only a matter of time before heavy rainfall seriously affects London and the underground network," the report says. "The risk is generally expected to increase [as] climate change predictions are that storms will become more intense."

The report was apparently commissioned following Hurricane Sandy, which flooded parts of the New York City subway system in 2012.

Closures and delays caused by flooding would cost millions for London Underground, whose ticket turnstiles recorded 1.3 billion journeys last year. Serious issues affecting the network would likely have an impact on the wider economy of the capital as more than half of London commuters rely on the Tube or Docklands Light Railway to reach their workplace.

London Underground has requested £3m over the next three years from Transport for London to investigate the riskiest sites and put protective measures in place.

However, Anthony Fernihough, the head drainage engineer, warned that amount "is not going to scratch the surface of it".

Climate change activists responded to the news by arguing that more radical action is needed to tackle the long-term issue of flood damage arising from heavy rainfall.

"If the underground goes underwater, we might finally see some real action on climate change from Westminster politicians," Guy Shrubsole, of Friends of the Earth, told the Guardian.

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