HOTELS and businesses near the Strand in central London are being evacuated as a precaution following the discovery of a gas leak, police said.
The Metropolitan Police said officers and the London Fire Brigade were working with the National Grid and other agencies at the scene.
Members of public have been told to keep away as a cordon has been put in place and motorists have been advised to avoid the area as a number of roads and Charing Cross station have been closed.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: ‘We are assisting police on the Strand after a ruptured gas main was discovered using detection equipment and high levels of natural gas were detected in the atmosphere.
‘As a precaution, approximately 1,450 people have been evacuated. They are from a hotel and a night club.
‘The Strand is completely closed and we are asking people to avoid the area.
‘We do not know the cause of the gas leak at this stage.
‘It is ongoing and engineers are down at the scene trying to isolate the leak. There are still high readings of natural gas in the area.
‘We are working to sort it out as quickly as possible.’
It is the second time in recent weeks that hundreds of people have been evacuated in London due to a gas leak following an incident on Horseferry Road in Westminster on January 9.
Cadent Gas said engineers were on site on Craven Street behind Charing Cross station to try to locate the gas escape.
A spokesman added: ‘We are working with the emergency services and a safety precaution an exclusion zone has been put in place.
‘The Amba Hotel, nearby flats, offices and Charing Cross stations were evacuated. Craven Street and the Strand from Duncannon Street junction to Trafalgar Square is closed.’