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Dutch show students secrets of flood defence

ICE news

GRADUATES AND students from ICE East of England last month visited fl ood defences in Holland to learn how low lying land could be protected from flooding.

The study tour of the Netherlands took in the Oosterschelde storm surge barrier in the south west of the country and the Philipsdam locks, which separate freshwater and tidal lakes but also allow ships to pass through.

Led by engineers from the Dutch department of public works, the group of 21 learned how the Dutch government decided in 1937 to block rivermouths to prevent storm surges inundating the land.

Known as the 'Delta Plan', the first freshwater lakes included the Brieles' Gat and the Botlek.

But heavy storms in the North Sea in 1953 interrupted work and killed nearly 2000 people in Holland, as well as 300 people in East Anglia and Yorkshire in England.

Holland then embarked on an ambitious 'Delta Works' flood defence scheme which included the Eastern Schelde, or 'Oosterschelde' storm surge barrier.

Opened in 1986, this £1.7bn, 2.48km long barrier consisted of 62 gates which would only be closed during heavy storms.

Graduate and student committee members Shaunette Babb and Paul Smith organised the tour with Dutch government water department engineers.

The committee is looking for volunteers and suggestions to help organise next year's trip.

Contact paul. j. smith@mottmac.com or babbs@halcrow. com for further information.

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