London Assembly report reveals confusion over who is responsible for maintaining flood defences and developing overall strategy.

Confusion over responsibility for maintaining flood defences and planning policy has left the Thames Gateway at severe risk of flooding, a new report has revealed.

The report, by the London Assembly Environment Committee, says that a number of different agencies share responsibility to prevent flooding. In most cases, the landowner is responsible for paying for and implementing maintenance. But the plethora of bodies involved means it is sometimes impossible to identify who owns the land.

Five per cent of east London defences are in poor or very poor condition, the report says. Information on defences outside London is scarce but it is thought they are in an even poorer condition.

The report also criticised the number of bodies drawing up planning policy and strategies for the Thames Gateway as well as the degree of co-ordination. It claims developers and architects are unsure of whom to consult in advance of planning applications.

Darren Johnson, chair of the committee, said: “We are extremely concerned about development plans for east London and the building of thousands of new homes in Thames Gateway. These plans are simply not taking the flood risk issue seriously enough.”