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The Thames Barrier

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I wouldn't even buy in northern Battersea which is a flood plain that'd flood if the Thames barrier failed.

Is the Thames Barrier invincible? It is closing much more often.

Thames Barrier trends

If TTRTR won't buy in Battersea there is a least one person who thinks not. Does it have a measurable impact on London property prices?

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Is the Thames Barrier invincible? It is closing much more often.

Thames Barrier trends

If TTRTR won't buy in Battersea there is a least one person who thinks not. Does it have a measurable impact on London property prices?

It could in the future. Mrs A writes articles about this sort of thing (she is a journalist) - apparently the Environment Agency / Govt are currently thinking about when and where to build a second barrier as the existing one won't last that long. ideally it has to be far down near the mouth of the Thames for max protection but the longer it is the more billions it will cost. If it is only built part way down then the land and houses downstream would be sacrificed if it had to be closed for a big surge. Bear in mind that 3 pumping stations are all that stand between Thamesmead and soggy carpet at the moment and draw your own conclusions about whether it's a good idea to buy there, given global warming.

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In the article I posted recently about the queen's bore hole they mentioned about rising water table in londno and how this is going to be a problem generally in London.

So its not just as simple as the river getting higer its about land getting wetter.

This is at the same time as the SE has less rainfall and water in reservoirs than they'd like... the answer seems simple to me ... but it is unlikely to be that simple.

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Is the Thames Barrier invincible? It is closing much more often.

Thames Barrier trends

If TTRTR won't buy in Battersea there is a least one person who thinks not. Does it have a measurable impact on London property prices?

Hey!. It's northern Battersea I won't buy in. From Clapham Junction, Lavender Hill starts up out of the flood-plain. So anywhere south of Lav hill is OK IMO.

But to be 100% open & truthful, the events in America do remind me of the fact that whether or not your house is directly affected by a flood, the fact that the cities infrastructure would be largely destroyed is enough to make me realise that people woundn't want to stick around in the short term because their jobs would be inaccesible (however you spell that :D ) amoung the other problems they would face.

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It could in the future. Mrs A writes articles about this sort of thing (she is a journalist) - apparently the Environment Agency / Govt are currently thinking about when and where to build a second barrier as the existing one won't last that long. ideally it has to be far down near the mouth of the Thames for max protection but the longer it is the more billions it will cost. If it is only built part way down then the land and houses downstream would be sacrificed if it had to be closed for a big surge. Bear in mind that 3 pumping stations are all that stand between Thamesmead and soggy carpet at the moment and draw your own conclusions about whether it's a good idea to buy there, given global warming.

It's never a good idea to buy in Thamesmead - full stop :)

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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In the article I posted recently about the queen's bore hole they mentioned about rising water table in londno and how this is going to be a problem generally in London.

So its not just as simple as the river getting higer its about land getting wetter.

This is at the same time as the SE has less rainfall and water in reservoirs than they'd like... the answer seems simple to me ... but it is unlikely to be that simple.

If your simple answer is to use London ground water to replace water that used to be provided from the reservoirs, then no, it's not that simple. The ground water is very polluted.

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In New Orleans the problem was caused because of the (inevitable) way the delta was being managed. The natural process on a delta is for the entire area to sink (under the weight of sediments being dumped onto the delta by the river). The river switches to flow across the lowest-lying areas, thus keeping the land more or less at the same level. By fixing the river into one locations (with levees) the land around keeps sinking but never receives any sediment. The problem gets worse and worse, the levees get higher and higher and the population gets more and more complacent.

In London we have the same problem for a different reason. Many people know that during the ice-ages Scotland was pushed down due to the weight of ice, and is now 'rebounding'. This gives features such as Scotland's many raised beaches, and coastal waterfalls. The same process acted even more strongly in Norway, contributing to the dramatic coastal geography (no, it wasn't Slartibardfast).

What people don't usually know is that just outside of the ice sheets (ie London and the south) the ground was pushed up during the ice ages. When the ice melted this started to sink, and is still sinking today.

We face a future in which, over the centuries, London will be ever lower than sea level, and will require ever higher barriers to protect it.

The rising water table is a red herring. People often confuse fresh ground water with the more common salt ground water. London used to have lots of industry which sucked vast amounts of water out of the ground. This lowered the water table. During the period of lowered water table lots of underground structures got built - eg the tube network and lots of deep basements and car parks. Now that the industry has largely gone the water table is rising to its natural level. Unfortunately this salty water isn't needed by anyone, and there was a dispute about who was responsible (Thames Water having been privatised). The last I heard the govt had resolved it by paying Thames water to extract the water and dispose of it (don't know how). Perhaps someone else knows more?

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It's frightening that they are still planning to build 30,000+ new homes on the flood plain at Barking Reach and Dagenham Dock. Some will even be 'luxury riverside apartments' apparently like the £250k tower block flats already being built at Thamesmead.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to relocate some of the council tenants (excluding pensioners/the disabled of course!) on full housing benefit out of central London to these new Thames Gateway builds. You could then 'gate' these developments and allow the male residents to have 'shared ownership' in each of the five houses of the female residents who they have got pregnant in the last five years. Well - it is Dagenham which has the highest proportion of young people not in education, employment or training in England and Wales despite only being 20 minutes from the City by train!

This would free up centrally located affordable housing for people who actually work for a living.

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Do you really trust this government to organise the building of a new flood barrier - they couldnt run a bath

They don't want to do it as they would have to budget for the cost but a future government would see all the benefits. It's the usual situation... Expect a few 'consultations' as they hope they can shift the cost to a future administration.

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It's frightening that they are still planning to build 30,000+ new homes on the flood plain at Barking Reach and Dagenham Dock. Some will even be 'luxury riverside apartments' apparently like the £250k tower block flats already being built at Thamesmead.

Wouldn't it be so much easier to relocate some of the council tenants (excluding pensioners/the disabled of course!) on full housing benefit out of central London to these new Thames Gateway builds. You could then 'gate' these developments and allow the male residents to have 'shared ownership' in each of the five houses of the female residents who they have got pregnant in the last five years. Well - it is Dagenham which has the highest proportion of young people not in education, employment or training in England and Wales despite only being 20 minutes from the City by train!

This would free up centrally located affordable housing for people who actually work for a living.

I'd vote you for London Mayor. There're some seriously scuzzy estates in the central Westminster area. Trouble is, its hardly a popular idea and has dodgy political ramifications, cf Shirley Porter & the Westminster Council gerrymandering scandal.

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The Thames Barrier is being discussed on News Night

Apparently end of millenium = 10m higher waterlevel in London.

So London property ISN'T a LONGTERM investment after all :P

Here's a dumbass worrying scenario:

3000 = 10m higher

2500 = 5m higher

2100 = 1m higher

2050 = serios poss of flooding

YIKES!

Edited by Sledgehead

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If London was flooded would it necessarily be a bad thing?

Maybe London property owners would be sad. But most people outside it would not be bothered.

Even when I lived there I found it to be just a soulless multicultural shithole, like a ginormous airport terminal.

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Is the Thames Barrier invincible?

No, I seem to remember a couple of years ago about talk of a new Thames Barrier (futher downstream) as a replacement due to lack of protection.

Currently googling for references... I'll add them if / when I find them

References;

Global Warming Floods Threaten 4million Britons

...

The report puts a question mark over John Prescott's cherished plans to develop the Thames Gateway with 90,000 new homes, and the whole area east of London which is at or below sea level.

...

The government has prepared an extensive response to the report pointing out that the Environment Agency is already looking at a replacement for the Thames Barrier, which is likely to be overwhelmed sometime after 2030.

Googling for the paper "Future Flooding" by Sir David King (Government's Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Office of Science and Technology) brings up lots of hits on the subject.

Edited by beerhunter

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this would make an excellent terror target.

await the next surge and drive an explosive packed boat into one section.

very large chunks of london get flooded.

i hope the authorities have thought of this un'.

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Guest Charlie The Tramp
Apparently end of millenium = 10m higher waterlevel in London.

Crikey are they expecting the Moon to orbit closer to the earth. :o

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this would make an excellent terror target.

await the next surge and drive an explosive packed boat into one section.

very large chunks of london get flooded.

i hope the authorities have thought of this un'.

RFD, you trying to give desperate EA's ideas ? Try to flood all those houses, make them scarcer & push prices up :D

EDIT: Sorry Sledge, just noticed you mentioned newsnight earlier.

They were talking about the barrier on Newsnight tonight, 30.5 minutes in .

broadband - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4222172.stm#

bbc.co.uk/newsnight

British floods?

The plight of those in New Orleans that has unfolded on our television screens over the past week has inevitably raised questions about how Britain's town and cities would cope with a similar crisis.

London built the Thames Barrier in 1983, but rising water levels have already seen calls for an additional barrier to prevent floods like those that struck London in 1953.

Our Science Editor Susan Watts asks whether our flood defences would hold.

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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If London was flooded would it necessarily be a bad thing?

Maybe London property owners would be sad. But most people outside it would not be bothered.

Even when I lived there I found it to be just a soulless multicultural shithole, like a ginormous airport terminal.

If you find London soulless it certainly doesn't miss you. And (in some years) it's the world's most visited city - so some people would be bothered.

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Is the Thames Barrier invincible? It is closing much more often.

In a word no. It was never designed to last forever (rather had a predicted design life over which it would protect the upper Thames), the problem is it appears that the incidents of storm surges combined with sea level rise will make it redundant alot quicker than original thought.

As you've pointed out, it is closing alot more frequently, which appears to be indicative of greater incident of storm surges/extreme high tides. Now, at some point the Gov will have to build a new one (probably under some hideously inflated PFI intiative as seems to be the current fashion), the favoured location being downstream and having a bigger barrier.

Like others have posted, the problems are compounded by the fact that London is sinking, along with the whole of the south/south east of England, while Scotland is rising due to the 'crustal rebound' following the last ice age. Also London itself may be sinking due to weight of buildings on the underlying Clay.

If the current estimates of sea level rise are correct, which they probably aren't, then some time long after were all dead, London may become undefendable, as the cost of defense will probably be 'uneconomical' (love to be alive when a goverment has to make that decision!!), or just physically impossible. However, the current sea level rise prediction may be incorrect, and that never happens, only time will tell. But in the interim, a new barrier will be built.

I looked at this in a bit of detail when I was at uni, but unfortunately dont have any data to hand.

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If London was flooded would it necessarily be a bad thing?

Maybe London property owners would be sad. But most people outside it would not be bothered.

Even when I lived there I found it to be just a soulless multicultural shithole, like a ginormous airport terminal.

I agree, I live in London (not born there though) and if it flooded, i wouldnt give a to55.

Having said that my grandparents lived in Staines (on the Thames) back in the 50s, and I believe that they told me that the Thames had flooded its banks some time back then, water would lap onto their doorstep. Did global warming exist then ??? probably not.

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If London was flooded would it necessarily be a bad thing?

Maybe London property owners would be sad. But most people outside it would not be bothered.

Even when I lived there I found it to be just a soulless multicultural shithole, like a ginormous airport terminal.

Seconded (as a northerner) - its an ugly filthy hole

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Is the Thames Barrier invincible? It is closing much more often. [boredTrainBuilder]

For an explanation see 'The Risk of Tidal Flooding in London':

http://www.nbu.ac.uk/iccuk/indicators/10.htm

Because the Thames River Barrier is now subject to different operating rules, it may be less useful as an indicator. The barrier is now closed to retain water in the Thames River as well as to lessen the risk of flooding. (It was closed on 9 successive tides at the start of 2003.) Thus, the number of closures has increased greatly in recent years. This indicator would only be useful if it were possible to distinguish the number of closures made specifically to lessen flood risk.

Hey!. It's northern Battersea I won't buy in. From Clapham Junction, Lavender Hill starts up out of the flood-plain. So anywhere south of Lav hill is OK IMO. [Time to raise the rents.]

See 'Map- Am I at Risk?':

http://www.floodlondon.com/risk.htm

...the problem is it appears that the incidents of storm surges combined with sea level rise will make it redundant a lot quicker than original thought. [space Cadet]

The original barrier is expected to provide the specified level of protection until 2030, as planned. Modifications and extensions may then extend its life to 2100 as explained in 'Outer barrier for Thames floated in river defence plan':

http://www.guardian.co.uk/weather/Story/0,...1387638,00.html

...Sarah Lavery, the project manager for Thames 2100, believes that for the next 100 years modifications and extensions to the existing Thames barrier will be enough to save London.

Thames 2100 is a review of how to prevent the homes and businesses of 1.2 million people from being flooded as sea levels rise this century.

The barrier, opened in 1982 and designed to protect London until 2030, will become less effective as time passes. Although by 2030 the agency still believes there will be only a one in a thousand chance of London being flooded in any year, the potential devastation is so great that extra protection will be required after that date.

...my grandparents lived in Staines (on the Thames) back in the 50s, and I believe that they told me that the Thames had flooded its banks some time back then, water would lap onto their doorstep. [cprulesok]

See 'Great weather events: the UK east coast floods of 1953':

http://www.metoffice.com/corporate/pressof...floods1953.html

The greatest storm surge on record for the North Sea occurred on 31 January and 1 February 1953. The surge height reached 2.74 m at Southend in Essex, 2.97 m at King's Lynn in Norfolk and 3.36 m in the Netherlands.

For a good explanation of 'Storm Surges':

http://www.floodlondon.com/flood.htm

Storm surges are huge elevations in sea level which strike unpredictably during the winter months. Those travelling down the North Sea pose a particular threat to the East Coast of the U.K. and Thames Estuary. The Met Office Storm Tide Forecasting Service records around twenty East Coast surge events a year.

For a more detailed analysis of the 'Thames Barrier':

http://www.floodlondon.com/floodtb.htm

Taking the 'most likely' projection, a 0.31 metre rise in global level, the Barrier design allowance will be exceeded round about the year 2030. This is the time when the designers themselves thought improvements might have to be made. With the less optimistic forecast the allowance could be surpassed as early as 2010.

This does not mean that flooding is certain, but it does alter the probabilities in the design calculation. With the 'most likely' projection, the 1000-year event becomes a 500-year event by the year 2050. In other words a doubling of the probability of occurrence of an over-Barrier flood in any particular year. Using the 'worst' projection, the same state is reached by 2015.

And one last point: by the year 2070 for 'most likely' and by 2040 for 'worst' case, the 1000-year event becomes a 100-year event. This is close to the original probability of occurrence of the 1953 flood, deemed an unacceptable level of risk and justifying construction of the Thames Barrier.

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