Thames Barrier gets a makeover to keep it ticking

THE massive Thames Barrier is to undergo repairs and a ‘makeover’ as one of 39 flood and coastal defence projects announced today.

Winch motors are being replaced and steel ropes on the ‘river gateway’ used to protect London against tidal surges are being renewed by the Environment Agency to keep the barrier operational.

“It is essential we continue to defend communities, businesses and the economy from the risk of flooding from the Thames and its tributaries,” said the agency’s Thames risk manager Peter Quarmby.

“We are developing plans to deal with flood risk, such as the Lower Thames project.

“But flooding cannot always be prevented—so it’s vital communities are alert and prepared.”

An estimated 1.5 million properties along the Thames are vulnerable, mainly in low-lying areas such as Wapping, Limehouse and parts of the Isle of Dogs.

So the Environment Agency is ‘splashing out’ �28 million alone on renewing flood defences and building new schemes across the Thames region over the next 12 months, part of its �521m nationwide programme. This is on top of the �10m in local levies for the Thames region announced in December.