The River Thames tidal defences have provided protection against the increasing threat of tidal flooding from the North Sea for more than 2000 years. The flood of 1953 was the catalyst for the construction of the current system of River Thames tidal defences, which includes the Thames Barrier, and has provided one of the best standards of flood defence in the UK for over 20 years.
Substantial growth is planned through ‘Thames Gateway’, a regeneration initiative of the United Kingdom government. These new developments will fundamentally change the developed footprint in the Thames Estuary flood-plain, and will be in place for at least the next 100 years. This presents a challenge of planning future defence against a background of uncertainty over climate and other environmental change, while ensuring that correct decisions are made concerning the nature and location of new building in the tidal flood-plain.
Through its ‘Thames Estuary 2100’ project, the Environment Agency is developing a long-term strategy for flood risk management in the estuary. Implementation of major construction works on the River Thames could commence from around 2015. Alternatively, it may be decided that minimum works are undertaken to provide security and major investment is delayed until uncertainties over climate change have abated. Whatever long-term option is chosen, this must be preceded by a period of collaboration with the Thames Gateway developments to ensure appropriate and sustainable flood defences are incorporated in new riverside construction.
One contribution of 14 to a Theme ‘The Big Flood: North Sea storm surge’.
- © 2005 The Royal Society