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Thames Barrier

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many times the Thames Barrier has been raised in each year since its construction. (113854)

Environment Agency figures show that since its construction, the Thames Barrier has been closed to prevent flooding during the winter flood season (generally October to April) on 95 occasions as follows:

Total

1982-83

1

1983-84

0

1984-85

0

1985-86

1

1986-87

1

1987-88

0

1988-89

1

1989-90

4

1990-91

1

1991-92

1

1992-93

4

1993-94

7

1994-95

4

1995-96

4

1996-97

1

1997-98

1

1998-99

2

1999-2000

6

2000-01

24

2001-02

4

2002-03

20

2003-04

1

2004-05

4

2005-06

3

2006-071

0

Total

95

1 To date.

At present the Thames Barrier is closed on average three to four times a year. In extreme conditions more frequent closures have been necessary to protect London from flooding—such as during the winter of 2000-01, when the barrier was closed 24 times and January 2003, when it was closed 19 times. These unusual occurrences were generally the result of continued high freshwater flows which only required a smaller tidal surge to necessitate a closure of the barrier.