Thames Barrier reaches limit, London Assembly warns

Thames Barrier... reaching its limit

Thames Barrier... reaching its limit - Credit: Archant

The Thames Barrier has virtually reached its limit, London Assembly members have warned.

It had to be raised for the 50th time in a year, following the recent threats of flooding.

The Environment Agency recommends that the barrier at Silvertown should not be raised more than 50 times in 12 months because of concerns over maintenance.

Fears were voiced at City Hall in Mayor’s Question Time last week by London Assembly member Jenny Jones.

“An unprecedented frequency of closures should serve as a wake-up call,” she said.


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“The barrier has been pushed to its recommended limits of 50 closures in a year.

“The original design didn’t take into account the impact of global climate change or frequency of the Thames flooding. That is why we need a review now.”

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London Mayor Boris Johnson agreed that he wanted “a full review of its operations” in response to Jenny Jones’ concerns.

The Environment Agency believes that the barrier will be adequate until 2050, when there is likely to be a need to extend its working life or replace it with a new barrier.

An estimated one million people and property worth £200 billion are being protected by the Thames Barrier from flooding.

But the barrier is having to be raised more frequently each year, superceding its original 1970s design concept.

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