What causes sinkholes?

The recent flooding has caused an unprecedented number of sinkholes to appear in roads and near people's homes. Martin Stew investigates.

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Campaign to improve Thames defences launched

Flooding in Surrey in February 2014 Credit: Twitter/@eagleradio

Seven local authorities who were hit by February's flooding have joined together to ask for £265 million river defences from the Government.

Homes in South Avenue, Egham were flooded in February 2014 Credit: ITV News/Simon Harris

Surrey, Richmond, Kingston, Windsor and Maidenhead, Elmbridge, Spelthorne and Runnymede councils have agreed to create a business case for the River Thames Scheme, to protect riverside homes and businesses by building a flood channel and improving three weirs.

Oxford and Cambridge to battle it out in boat race

The Oxford University rowing crew practices on the River Thames Credit: Reuters

The rivalry between Cambridge University and Oxford University continues with the annual boat race on the River Thames this afternoon. Cambridge is desperate to deny Oxford its fifth Boat Race victory in seven years.

Since the races began back in 1829, Cambridge has won 81 times, while Oxford's victory tally stands at 77 races.

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Thames freight traffic trebles

The amount of cargo being transported down the river has risen dramatically. Credit: ITN

The amount of freight moved through London on the River Thames has trebled over the last four years.

The Port of London Authority says that 5.3 million tonnes was moved in 2013 - a 62% rise on the 2012 figure.

The majority of the increase was down to an extra 1.8 million tonnes of spoil being transported from construction projects, particularly the cross-London Crossrail scheme.

RNLI: Incident is a life saved

"This incident has been recorded as a life saved as there were no other boats in the area at the time and I don’t think anyone was actually aware he was in the water.

He was incredibly fortunate in that respect.

We still don’t know how he came to be in the water but due to an unusual twist of fate we managed to avoid one more fatality on the River Thames last night.

That first person who was threatening to jump from London Bridge probably has no idea that, all things considered, he saved another man’s life."

– Toni Scarr, volunteer lifeboat crew member for Tower RNLI

Man's threat to jump from London Bridge leads to stranger's life being saved

A man threatening to throw himself into the Thames inadvertently saved the life of a stranger who was drowning in the river below.

Lifeboat on Thames
Such rescues are only possible due to voluntary contributions to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution charity. Credit: RNLI/James Oxley

Tower RNLI crew say they would never have spotted a person in the water if it wasn't for the callout to reports of someone on a ledge and ready to jump at London Bridge late on Wednesday evening.

By the time they arrived police had managed to talk the man down, but the crew spotted someone else on the bridge pointing towards the water.

It was then that they spotted the person in the river, desperately struggling to keep his head above the water as he was dragged down by a large duffel coat.

When they pulled him out, the crew found he was suffering from hypothermia and he was taken to hospital.

The RNLI say they don't know how the person ended up in the water, but he was said to have been alert and apologetic when he was attended to by crews.

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