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Thames flood barrier upgrade ruled out

An upgrade of the Thames Barrier in the near future was again ruled out by the Environment Agency last week, despite several severe flood warnings to the east coast and south east of England earlier this month.

In September the Agency rejected claims by ministers that increased flooding had prompted a feasibility study into a second Thames Barrier (NCE 6 September).

Speaking at Civils 2007 last week, the head of the Agency’s project to develop a tidal flood risk management plan for London and the Thames estuary claimed flood management, rather than defence, was the key to safeguarding London's future.

"The Thames barrier is a reactive flood defence, but multifunctional spaces are part of the future for flood plain management," said Thames Estuary 2100 (TE2100) project manager Sarah Lavery.

The Thames Barrier is due to reach the end of its design life in 2030 but the Agency claims that the it may be able to continue to provide protection to London through to the end of the century under current climate change scenarios.

Lavery acknowledged that although development in the floodplain may present problems, the Thames Gateway presents an opportunity to create a better development that considers flood risk right from
the start.

TE 2100's final tidal flood risk management plan will be submitted to Government at the end of 2009.

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