Fear of increased flooding due to burst water pipes has prompted Lewisham Council to call on firefighters to save people.

A report into Thames Water pipes bursting, published by council’s overview and scrutiny committee, brought up the concern that more floods could be on the way.

The pipes are 15-200 years old and the scrutiny committee said that more floods “are more likely in the future due to the ageing Victorian trunk mains”.

Winter brings increased risk of the pipes bursting due to freezing weather, with one week in January requiring 500 Thames Water engineers to repair more than 1,000 leaks across London.

One example in Lewisham was when a large sinkhole opened on Lee High Road on November 26 last year, stranding passengers on a bus in the middle of a flood.

Currently the fire brigade are not given statutory duty to respond to flooding incidents and the Fire Brigades Union has been calling on the Government to change that stance.

Councillor Alan Hall, Lewisham’s chair of the scrutiny inquiry, said: “I think most people will be amazed that the Fire Brigade do not have the statutory responsibility for flooding.

“These incidents can put lives at risk. They cause major disruption to the public.

“I am very pleased that Lewisham Council has got behind this call for the government to make the fire brigade the statutory service for flooding.”

Thames Water outlined its long-term strategy on October 2 to replace all of the 3,200km of massive 18-inch trunk mains that act as the water motorways across the capital.

A spokesperson from Thames Water said: “: “In times of flooding, be it from a burst pipe or another source, we work closely with all the London first responders, including the Fire Brigade, and through our recent trunk main strategic review we’re implementing a series of measures to improve our own response to flooding.”