Thumbs up for Thames Barrier

The Thames Barrier has been given a clean bill of health, despite having been immersed in the river for the past 21 years.

Results from an Environment Agency survey show that the Barrier is still extremely robust and has suffered very little wear and tear during its tenure.

The extensive nine month survey, conducted in association with a number of contractors and consultants including High-Point Rendel the original designers of the Thames Barrier, examined each of the piers, gates and associated defences at all locations along the river.

Using robots, 3-D infra-red imaging, electro-magnetic and ultra-sound measuring equipment, the tests showed that the protective paint coating on the gates was still in very good condition, and that there had been little wear or tear on key components of the structure.

Thames tidal flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, Andy Batchelor, said:

"London currently benefits from one of the best levels of flood protection in the world - however, climate change and rising sea levels mean that this level of protection will gradually decrease. This project will help to ensure that the Thames Barrier continues to provide an excellent level of protection."

The results of the survey will inform the Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 project which aims to ensure the continued performance of the Thames Barrier for the next 100 years.

Despite its robust nature, Mr Batchelor warned that living in the flood plain was never without risk, and urged Londoners to consider all the steps they could take to protect themselves from flooding.

David Hopkins



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