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Thames Gateway must learn from New Orleans

THAMES GATEWAY homes should be built 1m above existing ground level to counter the risk of the Thames Barrier failing, flood experts have warned.

Consultant Peter Brett Associates said new homes should be raised above the level of a one in 1,000 year flood event to allow for New Orleans style breaches of the barrier.

The government plans to build up to 90,000 new homes in a 60km wide strip of land lining the Thames from east and southeast London to Kent and Essex.

'The Thames Gateway is protected to 1,000 years - but behind a defence and defences can break, ' said Peter Brett partner Ben Mitchell.

'The Thames Gateway is behind defences. So was New Orleans.

'The Thames Gateway is a specifi case where redevelopment is justifi d, but where it would be wise to ensure the development is designed to allow for breaches.' Mitchell said that properties in the Gateway would need to be built 500mm to 3m above existing ground level to bring them above the level of a 1 in 1,000 year flood.

This could be readily achieved with a capping layer. As some sites will be brownfield, such a layer would be needed anyway.

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