London Is Falling Down — Because of Climate Change

Source: Insurance Journal


Britain’s increasingly extreme weather is shaking the very foundations of its centuries-old history.

The nation has been experiencing prolonged periods of drought after wet winters since last year. That’s causing the porous rock beneath vast parts of southeast of England, including London, to move more than usual, cracking or tilting many of the city’s historical homes in the plushest neighborhoods. The damage has triggered the highest insurance payout in almost two decades, with experts warning that it could get worse.

The London clay, the type of soil that covers most of these areas, “is quite unique” because it can shrink and swell a lot, according to Lee Jones, a geological engineer at the British Geological Survey who has studied UK hazards for over 30 years. “The wetter it gets, the more it swells and expands and the drier it gets, the more it shrinks and cracks,” he said, adding that future temperature extremes will exacerbate the impact on buildings and roads.

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