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Raise the stakes


Your article on the Jubilee River (NCE 19/26 August) shows how difficult it is to control flooding of a river like the Thames. I suggest that trying to control it is the wrong strategy.

I lived by the Thames for many years and have seen many floods. I have also seen which properties are inundated and note that they are generally the newer ones. The Victorians usually built houses well above flood levels but more recently architects have ignored this strategy.

Raising houses on brick arches or similar is not difficult and this practice should have continued. Surely we must ensure that all new properties are built at adequate levels rather than trying to prohibit construction in flood plains.

Raising low properties would be a more useful engineering challenge than digging channels or building embankments.

When the river is in flood it is also in its most natural state as the effect of impoundment at the weirs is smallest. It looks spectacular and boating on it is a pleasure that has been enjoyed for generations. To tame the floods would spoil this unique aspect of our heritage.

Pete Claisse (M), Civil Engineering Group, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 5FB

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