Elmbridge has been hit by the flooding caused by unprecedented weather conditions. Whilst damage has been done across the borough, properties near the River Thames – including Walton, Molesey and Thames Ditton – have been worst hit. Living in Thames Ditton, I have seen the rising river levels first-hand. I will be visiting some of the worst affected areas tomorrow.
It is difficult to give a precise number, but dozens of families have temporarily left their homes to avoid being either trapped and isolated, or inundated. There is a joint agency response, including by the Environment Agency (monitoring flood levels and issuing alerts), Elmbridge borough council (leafleting neighbourhoods at risk, calling the vulnerable, laying sandbags, setting up a relief centre in Walton) and the emergency services (especially Fire and Rescue) where evacuation is required.
For emergency contact details click here. The key numbers are:
- Environment Agency flood helpline: 0845 988 1188
- Elmbridge Borough Council helpline: 01372 474 474 (Out of hours service: 01372 466 114)
If you are affected and are struggling to get help, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me.
More broadly, these floods will inevitably now spark a wider debate about priorities within UK environmental policy. As I argued back in 2012, here, I believe we need to recognise that climate change will make extreme weather events more likely, and put more of a focus into adaptation and resilience.