A leading expert on flood risk in the Thames estuary this week rejected claims that the Thames Barrier needs “urgent” replacement.
The barrier’s ability to withstand future flood events was called into question last month by Richard Bloore, one of the engineers who built it in the 1980s (NCE 10 January).
He said recent flooding in New York should serve as a warning to London and called for a replacement to be built urgently.
The Environment Agency has no plans to replace the structure before 2070.
Arup associate director David Wilkes, who spent much of his career managing the barrier, defended the Agency’s stance this week.
“When the barrier was designed there was a significant allowance for rising seas, even with the recent levels we’ve been seeing,” said Wilkes.
“It needs to be kept under review, but it would be very hard to justify major expense until the later part of this century”.
Before joining Arup in 2006 Wilkes had a 30 year career with the Environment Agency and its predecessor organisations.
While manager of the Thames Barrier, Wilkes initiated the early planning of the options for protecting London in the face of climate change and rising tide levels.