Thames Barrier Should Protect for 60 More Years
by Alan Harten
April 2, 2009
Just when you thought all climate change news was bad news, comes the report that the Thames Barrier, a flood-control structure designed to protect London from the overflow of the Thames River, is holding up better than expected.
Largely because climate change has not impacted the barrier as much as anticipated, the Thames Barrier is now estimated to protect the capital city for 60 or more years, well beyond 2030 when it was expected to become inefficient.
The Environment Agency (EA) came to this conclusion after completing a six-year investigation into flood-risk within the Thames Estuary.
In more good news, the study found that climate change will not cause as much of an increase in storm surge height in the North Sea as environmentalists had originally predicted.
The EA is recommending that officials plan to wait until around 2070, when a new barrier will need to be built.
Until then, they say, simple maintenance and upgrading of the current one will suffice.
The Thames Barrier was built in 1982 and currently protects about 45 square miles of London that might otherwise be at risk of flooding.
Currently it consists of nine concrete barriers in southeast London spanning the Thames.
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