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City Matters 131

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CITYMATTERS.LONDON 14 July - 17 August 2021 | Page 3 NEWS subscribe to our newsletter at Rising sea levels prompt raising of flood barriers FLOOD barriers in the capital will be up to a metre higher as London prepares for rising sea levels caused by climate change, writes Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter. The Thames Barrier protects parts of the City of London, but the impact of climate change on sea levels and more extreme weather events means there will have to be more local protection later this century. This means parts of the Square Mile’s flood defences will be raised by up to 1m, according to a City of London Corporation report. The corporation’s Thames Estuary 2021 plan says the City needs to raise flood defences to 5.85m above the average sea level by 2065, and 6.35m by 2100. Gordon Roy, the director of City of London’s environmental resilience team, River Thames Green finance can help us look forward to a greener future IT’S just over four months to go until the UN Climate Change Conference – better known‌ as COP26 – takes place in Glasgow, and few will deny we are at a pivotal moment for our planet, and for the future of finance, writes Catherine McGuinness, City of London Policy Chair. With this in mind, here in the City we recently held the second of our hybrid Green Horizon Perspectives events, organised by the City of London Corporation, Green Finance Institute and World Economic Forum and bringing together senior figures from government and industry to discuss how we can accelerate the growth of so-called green finance to help tackle climate change. I know that the City residents and workers reading this share our sense of urgency on climate action. We all have a part to play in the UK’s journey to net zero emissions, and personal finance will be a key part of this. That’s why in the near future you’ll soon see ‘green’ mortgages, loans and investment products linked to sustainable projects becoming much more common place, offered alongside the traditional financial packages we are used to using. In fact, many people I talk to predict that green finance will soon be so common place, it will just be known as finance. In his recent speech at The Mansion House the Chancellor set out a Financial and Professional Services Roadmap backing this vision, announcing the first green National Savings and Investments savings bond alongside the UK’s debut sovereign green bond. These are hugely exciting developments that once again reaffirm why the UK, and indeed the City of London, are truly one of said some sections of the barrier are already at the required level for 2100. But he warned in a council report on Tuesday that target dates might have to be brought forward as sea levels are rising faster than anticipated. He said: “This defence raising will have an impact on riverfront structures and walkways, on views of the river from the riverside walk and from nearby buildings.” He also pointed out that there are “opportunities to enhance the user experience of the riverside, improve opportunities for biodiversity and highlight the historic importance of the City’s riverside.” The options suggested in the council report include building a glass parapet on top of existing flood defences, raising the current walls, and using barriers up to 6.5m high. They could be more useful for historic buildings. Another method could be building defences out over the river on piles or cantilevers. However this option runs the risk of reducing the river’s flood capacity and is less likely to be favoured by the Environment Agency. Another solution could be building a new flood barrier behind the existing barrier. Flood or storm gates could also be put in barriers and self-activating barriers up to the world’s leading innovative international financial centres. But that doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels- far from it. If we are to become the go-to location for green finance now and in the future, we need to spell out to the world exactly why that is. And while there is much to be celebrated, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there is still plenty of work to do to ensure the UK, and the financial and professional services industry, continue on the path to net zero. As the UK steps up preparations for COP26, we must redouble our efforts, particularly in terms of infrastructure, and encourage banks and asset managers based in the UK to reallocate capital to more sustainable projects around the world. It is clear there is huge ambition from government and industry to go further in our environmental commitments, but now is the time to turn words in action and confront climate change head on. Here in the City we are tackling it through our radical Climate Action Strategy which will make the Square Mile net zero carbonemissions by 2040. I hope others follow suit with equally ambitious plans, and look forward to working with Government to seize and development sustainable finance opportunities which will benefit businesses and households here in the City and across the country. After all, climate change is the biggest global issue affecting everyone on the planet. And to quote Greta Thunberg, you are never too small to make a difference. 2.5m high could also be a useful way of holding back flood water. The City is also considering building new walls in front of existing flood defences, or building new walls or parapets. It’s likely that a combination of options might be used. Fourteen people died in the last major flood in central London in January 1928. It was caused by a sudden rise in sea levels after snow thawed and there was a heavy rainfall. Water levels peaked at 5.55m above sea level and lapped over the Embankment in the City and Southwark and up to Putney and Hammersmith. The -scooter rental trial has arrived in the City of London Co-ordinated by TfL and London Councils to help you enjoy e-scooters safely, the trial offers the only e-scooters legally allowed on the City of London’s roads. When using rental e-scooters, please follow the rules of the road, don’t ride on the pavement and remember to return them to designated parking bays. Visit for more information Let’s make sure every journey matters

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