A new report has warned that London could be at risk from flooding due to the poor condition of the flood barriers that protect the eastern part of the capital. The London Assemblys 8-month inquiry into Londons flood risk has found that around 12 miles of the barriers are in a most unsatisfactory state. The floods in 1953, which caused around 300 deaths, led to the building of the Thames barrier which is now in need of some serious maintenance work.

However the situation is complicated by the fact that not one, but 14 separate bodies share the work of preventing floods, often making it difficult to coordinate responsibility for repairs to be done. Furthermore the major housing development planned for the Thames Gateway area which includes the building of 120,000 new homes over the next ten years would see 90 percent of the new houses constructed in the flood plain. With the example of New Orleans still fresh in everyones mind, this is no time for complacency, a London Assembly spokesman said: We cannot afford to repeat the same mistakes.