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Thatcher Considered Blowing Up Thames Flood Defences

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Not as daft or madcap as it sounds. The Thames flood defences had been raised before the Thames barrier was complete but it would have looked very bad politically to allow Essex and Kent to flood in order to save London


The situation compounded existing fears of a serious flood with “disastrous consequences” as the banks of the river had been raised in preparation for the barrier. It meant that any tidal surge before completion would be funnelled upstream.

The government however recognised the “major political difficulty” in “deliberately flooding Kent and Essex in order to protect central London”.

And in the event, the dock strike was resolved, the four gates which had been stranded in Teesside by the industrial action released and Thames barrier completed later that year.

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