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Thames Barrier can protect against flooding an extra 40 years

PUBLISHED: 14:53 30 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:14 05 October 2010

PUBLIC consultations begin tomorrow on how we tackle the increasing threat of tidal flooding in London and the Thames estuary. It follows a six-year scientific study into flood protection which shows the Thames Barrier will be able to cope for an extra 40 years

PUBLIC consultations begin tomorrow on how we tackle the increasing threat of tidal flooding in London and the Thames estuary.

It follows a six-year scientific study into flood protection which shows the Thames Barrier will be able to cope for an extra 40 years on top of what its designers envisaged back in the 1970s.

It was originally deemed to be able to safeguard the capital from tidal surges until 2030.

But findings from the study into sea levels now predict the barrier will be up to the job until 2070 at least, if we look after it.

AT RISK

Now the Environment Agency has proposals on what’s needed to manage tidal flood risk and keep the barrier in business even till the end of the century.

Around one-and-a-quarter million people live and work in the vulnerable estuary floodplain, but the Agency is confident the risk is manageable.

The proposals are begin their three-month public consultation tomorrow (Tuesday) into how it plans to safeguard the Thames estuary, its people, buildings and natural habitats.

The agency is recommending improving the current defence system to 2070, when the barrier may have to be upgraded’ or a new construction put up to replace it. But a final decision will not be required until the middle of the century.

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