Local MPs and council leaders press Thames Water for answers after Finsbury Park flooding

(L to R) Ian Marchant, Thames Water Chairman, Diane Abbott MP, Cllr Andy Hull, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Cllr Caroline Selman, Philip Glanville and Steve Spencer, Thames Water Chief Operating Officer

Local MPs and council leaders met Thames Water bosses today to press them for answers on their response to the burst water main in Finsbury Park that flooded 170 homes, leaving many uninhabitable. 

Residents in the area, which spans Hackney and Islington, were also without power and water for hours after the incident on 8 October, with Thames Water slow to communicate and drop off emergency supplies of bottled drinking water. 

At the meeting, Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety, Cllr Andy Hull, Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP, and Islington North MP, Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, all conveyed residents’ concerns to senior Thames Water representatives, including its Chairman, Ian Marchant.

In the aftermath of the flood, residents from 76 homes were placed into temporary accommodation, with some reporting they’ve had to move several times already and others unclear about what food and accommodation costs they can reclaim from the company.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
While front-line Thames Water staff are working really hard to resolve the issues, its overall response, especially its communication with local people, hasn’t been good enough.

Residents have faced significant disruption and are uncertain about their entitlement to compensation. I have written to Thames Water twice since the floods to convey residents’ concerns and I am pleased that Thames Water accepted our request for a meeting to discuss these. Today’s meeting was constructive, and I hope that our serious concerns about its response will be resolved so residents can get back to living normal lives as quickly as possible. Anyone with concerns can contact me directly and I will raise these urgently with Thames Water. 
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
It’s unacceptable that a burst water main has once again caused major disruption and chaos for many people in Islington. As a local resident affected by the loss of water, I know first-hand just how frustrating Thames Water’s poor response was for local people.

I made clear at the meeting that the Council, and local residents, want answers about why this happened again, and why Thames Water’s response left so many people in Islington without key information or access to water for an unacceptable period of time. We’ve been on Thames Water’s case since the devastating flood in Angel, but so far all we seem to be getting are warm words. It’s time they took decisive action to get their operation in order, so that they don’t let local people down again. 
Cllr Andy Hull, Executive Member for Finance, Performance and Community Safety at Islington Council
Today was a useful meeting with Thames Water. It will be important to get compensation levels right and get the money to residents swiftly. There are also long-term issues about maintenance which Thames Water will have to consider.
Rt Hon Diane Abbott MP, Member of Parliament for Hackney North and Stoke Newington

Anyone with outstanding questions about the flooding, including about insurance claims and how much they can claim for food and accommodation, should contact their Thames Water loss adjuster directly. Alternatively, residents can contact on-site Thames Water representatives, who will be on-site until at least Friday 25 October. If residents haven’t already reported damage, they can call Thames Water 24/7 on 0345 604 8580.

The Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, has written twice to Thames Water since the floods in Finsbury Park: 

  • On 8 October, to raise concerns about water distribution, support to residents and Thames Water’s presence on the site of the flood

  • On 14 October, regarding housing and other ongoing support for affected residents.