Dozens still waiting for insurance payouts almost two years after Upper Street flooding

PUBLISHED: 10:52 01 November 2018

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street. Picture: Paul Wood

Devastation caused by the flooding in Upper Street. Picture: Paul Wood

Paul Wood

Almost two years on from the devastating flooding of Upper Street, more than a quarter of affected home and business owners have yet to receive insurance payouts.

Homes were destroyed in the flooding two years ago. Picture: Paul WoodHomes were destroyed in the flooding two years ago. Picture: Paul Wood

A trunk pipe underneath the road burst in the early hours of December 5, 2016, and water gushed down Charlton Place – destroying shops in Camden Passage and homes in Devonia Road.

Tonight, Islington’s policy and performance scrutiny committee will discuss the work done by Thames Water and other organisations since the flooding to reduce the risk of future bursts, and improve its response when it does happen.

It comes after another burst pipe in Offord Road caused flooding in basements and closed school and a stretch of Caledonian Road on Monday.

Councillors drew up 28 recommendations for Thames Water in September last year, and a 12-month update will be provided tonight.

A fireman gives a lift to a stranded passer-by on Monday. Picture: Paul ConveryA fireman gives a lift to a stranded passer-by on Monday. Picture: Paul Convery

A report ahead of the meeting details some of the improvements made by the water company, including how it has slashed its response time from two hours to one hour and nine minutes.

“The size of the emergency response team has doubled and now includes 24 hour coverage with aims to improve average response times to under one hour by 2020,” it states.

“Dedicated response teams attend site immediately after a burst main to inform and give guidance to concerned residents, and as a result there were no significant complaints from two recent major bursts in central London.”

That is in line with the on-site response to the Offord Road flooding, which by all accounts was handled well.

Thames Water has also more than doubled the size of its media team from 12 to 24, and has 24 hour coverage with improved social media responses.

But 37 of the 139 claims made in the wake of the Upper Street flooding have yet to be settled. Only six of the claims are being handled by Thames Water, with the other 31 being dealt with through people’s own insurance companies. Thirteen of those claims have uninsured losses which Thames Water has agreed to pay out for out of good will.

The report also details how sensors have been installed on Islington’s main trunks, such as the Upper Street pipe and one in Essex Road, to detect the likelihood of a burst.

On Monday, Caledonian ward’s Cllr Paul Convery repeated calls for Thames Water to renew its Victorian pipes.

Thames Water said reducing leaks was a key part of its business plan and would inject £2.1bn to reduce it by 15 per cent as of 2025.

A spokesperson added: “We responded quickly to minimise the impact of the flooding following the burst in Offord Road, and stopped the flow of water within two hours of it being reported to us. We understand incidents like this can be frustrating and we’d like to apologise.”

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