London

Sadiq Khan accuses Thames Water after three London floods

Burst pipe Islington Image copyright LFB
Image caption About 100 people were evacuated from their flooded homes after a water main burst in Islington

Thames Water must "up their game" after burst pipes caused three floods in London in a week, London's mayor said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes and businesses were shut when major flooding hit Stoke Newington, Blackheath and Islington.

Sadiq Khan said people were "rightly furious it appears lessons are not being learnt".

Thames Water has said a "full investigation" will take place "to reduce the risk of further disruption".

Image copyright @Spen_Yates
Image caption About 350 people were evacuated from their homes in Stoke Newington on Sunday...
Image copyright Sam Thomas
Image caption ...while on Saturday businesses were flooded in Blackheath when a contractor burst a water pipe...
Image copyright @stuart_rock
Image caption ...and many basement flats in Islington were badly flooded on 5 December

Mr Khan said the "huge damage" caused was "a devastating thing to happen in the run-up to Christmas".

"It is right that Thames Water have launched a full investigation, and residents and business must now get full compensation," he said.

Director Bob Collington told the BBC the firm had spent "about £1bn a year upgrading our network" but "clearly the events of the last few weeks point to the fact that we need to do even more".

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption A coach became trapped in a sinkhole after a pipe burst in Lee High Road on 26 November

Some business owners have accused the company of "incompetence" over the floods.

Gonen Ozer, who owns two businesses in Stoke Newington, said the mains had been leaking for several days but the water firm had only "patched it up temporarily".

"I can only describe Thames Water's attitude as reckless, irresponsible and totally unprofessional", he said.

Emily Oliphant was in her Blackheath flooring shop when water started pouring into the building and said the damage caused was "unbelievable".

She accused Thames Water workers of "incompetence" as it took "four or five hours" until the water stopped.

Thames Water in figures

10,000

miles of pipes in London

1,700

miles of Victorian pipes replaced

  • £742m annual profit (2015/16)

  • 15m customers

  • £1bn invested annually on upgrading the network

Paul Wood

Mr Collington said he was "absolutely devastated about the damage" but denied the company was unprofessional.

He said Thames Water had been "in the process of applying for the permits" to close the road in Stoke Newington to fix the mains when it burst.

With regards to Blackheath, Mr Collington explained that it can take "several hours to shut down one of these large pipes" to reduce disruption to other companies.

"We understand fully the consequences of getting it wrong and we take that really, really seriously," he said.

Image caption Roads in Islington and Stoke Newington will be closed for several days while repairs are carried out

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