Kingston pilots new regional flooding exercise to help manage the impacts of climate change

water safety exercise

A new, first of its kind, flooding exercise is being staged in the Royal Borough of Kingston, before being rolled out across the rest of London.

Despite ongoing efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change, climate hazards are increasing, which means local services need to be prepared to respond effectively to flooding incidents. On 4 April, the council will be hosting a south west London sub regional exercise to prepare for potential, large-scale flooding incidents across Kingston and other south west London boroughs. 

The exercise is run by the Environment Agency and will include representatives from other local authorities in south west London as well as key partners such as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), London Fire Brigade (LFB), London Ambulance Service (LAS), Met Office, London Resilience Group (LRG), utility providers and Kingston Hospital. 

Hayley Bennett, Chair of London Flood Working Group said: 

 “The exercise at Kingston’s Guildhall will put the South West of London in the best position ahead of the summer to ensure all partners are fully prepared for any significant thunderstorm and rainfall events if they were to occur. 


“We know these events are getting more frequent and more extreme, driven by climate change.  Exercises like this put response partners in the best possible place to prepare for and respond to significant floods that can pose a risk to communities across London.”

This is part of a wider piece of work by Kingston Council’s Resilience Planning Team who recently commissioned the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to complete an Open Water Safety Assessment of the riverside in Kingston. This expert assessment of the riverside follows the recent improvement of river rescue equipment and will feed into the redevelopment of Eagle Brewery Wharf on the riverside in Kingston town centre. The RoSPA recommendations will be reviewed by Kingston’s River Safety Forum.

Last year, Kingston Council installed lifelines under Kingston’s Bridges to help anyone who gets in trouble in the water. The lifelines have been placed around the base of the arches of the bridges providing anyone who accidentally ends up in the water with something to grab hold of. Read more about this on our website

The council and Kingston’s River Safety Forum partners also installed 12 new throwline boards along the Thames, replacing some of the older life rings. The team have been instrumental in setting up a River Safety Forum which covers a wider geographic area across south west London and into Surrey to share best practices and learning from river incidents. 

With these ongoing efforts, the council and its partners are continuing to make Kingston a safer and more resilient borough for all. 

Published: 27th March 2024