asked Her Majesty's Government:
In the light of the possible rise of sea levels, what is the expected life span of the Thames Barrier; what plans they have to replace or alter the Barrier; and when any such replacement or alteration will happen. [HL1465]
The Environment Agency is currently undertaking its “Thames Estuary 2100” project to deliver a flood risk management plan for the tidal Thames through to the end of the century.
It will recommend what will be required to manage increasing flood risk, and when it will be required, depending on the impacts of climate change. An assessment of the current estuary defences, including the Thames Barrier, and the options for future flood risk management will be included in this research.
The project is due to report its recommendations to the Government at the end of 2009. Findings currently indicate that the tidal defences provide a better standard of protection than previously understood and so are unlikely to require any major changes until after 2030. Under the Government's current climate change guidance for future sea level rise the Thames Barrier, with some modification, may even continue to provide protection to London through to the end of the century.