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NCE Live News Updates: Friday 14 February: Flood barriers shipped in from Europe; Hammersmith flyunder can be self-financing

Temporary flood defences are being shipped in from abroad; Hammersmith flyover in west London could be replaced with a self-financed tunnel scheme.

3pm: London transport investment secured after budget approved

London mayor Boris Johnson’s sixth budget has today been approved unamended by the London Assembly, securing significant investment in transport infrastructure.

Key deliverables in the budget include a commitment to extend the Northern Line to Battersea and a continued investment in the London Underground that will reduce Tube delays by 30% by 2015 compared to 2011. It also commits to introducing a new 24-hour Tube service at weekends from 2015.


12pm: Number 10 has released a swathe of government information and advice about the winter storms causing extensive flooding in parts of the UK

England has faced the wettest January since 1766. The government response to this includes:

  • £30M to be spent on urgent flood defence repairs this year on top of £100M next year
  • 42 new flood schemes given the green light
  • 55 schemes starting work this year
  • they will protect over 43,000 households across the country
  • they represent an investment of over £344M in total

Existing flood defences and improvements to the way the the Environment Agency respond to incidents has meant over 1.2 million properties and nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland has been protected since the beginning of December

9.30am: Temporary flood defences ordered in from Sweden and the Netherlands with further heavy rain expected to affect the country on Friday and into Saturday.

The Environment Agency has revealed that additional temporary flood defences have been ordered from Sweden and the Netherlands to bolster the response to the ongoing floods.

Continued heavy rainfall means that flooding will remain for several days, the Environment Agency has warned. Windsor, Maidenhead and communities along the Thames in Surrey remain at high risk of flooding from the River Thames – with significant flooding of homes and businesses expected.  The Thames has recorded some of its highest levels for 60 years.

There is also continued high flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors where a major operation to pump away floodwater is taking place, and a high risk of coastal flooding for Dorset.

In Winchester, teams from the Environment Agency have been on the ground creating a temporary flood storage area to cope with levels on the River Itchen, and help protect homes and businesses.

The Environment Agency has teams out on the ground across the country making sure blockages are removed from rivers, supporting the deployment of sandbags by local authorities, and working to put up temporary defences.

Since the beginning of December, flood schemes have defended more than 1.3 million homes and businesses and protected nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland across England. In the same period, 5,800 properties have flooded as a result of the extraordinary series of weather storms.


9am: A tunnel replacement for Hammersmith flyover in west London be built in just three years and release around £1bn worth of former highway land to help pay for the works.

That is the conclusion of a Halcrow-produced feasibility study commissioned by Hammersmith & Fulham Council. The findings were presented to the council’s transport committee this week.

Halcrow has been working with the council on a plan to replace the flyover with a tunnel since the key route was closed for emergency repairs in 2011.

It has now come up with three options which the council is urging Transport for London to assess in more detail.

The alternatives vary from 1.6km to 4.1km long and are likely to cost between £218M and £1.7bn.

The cheapest option would be a cut and cover tunnel and offers the advantage that all 90,000 vehicles that currently use the flyover daily would use the new tunnel.

The other, longer options would be twin bored tunnels. These would be marginally quicker to build but far less traffic would use them, Halcrow believes. As little as 50% of traffic currently using the flyover would use the bored tunnels, it has calculated.

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