Thames floods: Thames Barrier closed for record 19th consecutive tide

פורסם: 17 בפבר׳ 2014, 12:46 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 17 בפבר׳ 2014, 12:47 ]

The Environment Agency has shut the ten steel gates that protect London from flooding 41 times this winter, a quarter of all the closures since it opened in 1982

The Thames Barrier, London's main flood defence
The Thames Barrier near Woolwich, south-east London Photo: PA

By 16 Feb 2014

The Thames Barrier will be closed for a record 19th consecutive time on Sunday night in a further demonstration of how the relentless winter storms have tested Britain’s flood defences to their limits.

Millions of people living in a 48 sq mile area of central London are protected from flooding by the barrier’s ten steel gates across the River Thames near Woolwich in the east of the capital.

The barrier, which opened in 1982, was originally designed to be raised only once every six years to block floods caused by tidal surges.

However, it has been called into use more and more frequently in recent times, with the Environment Agency shutting it 41 times this winter alone, a quarter of all the closures for flood defence purposes since it was completed.

It will be closed again for a 20th consecutive time on Monday afternoon, the agency said.

The Thames Barrier, one of the world’s largest moveable flood barriers with a span of 1,700 ft, was built in response to the 1953 North Sea flood, which killed more than 300 people, including one in London.

It is currently being used to prevent high tides from holding back the extra water coming down the heavily swollen Thames from inundated areas upriver and causing flooding in densely populated areas of the capital.