If the Thames Barrier hadn’t been there last week…

Environment Agency flood graphic
In case you hadn’t seen this already, this image issued by the Environment Agency shows what could have happened to our part of London if the Thames Barrier hadn’t been raised on Thursday to deal with the biggest tide in 60 years. That’s my old house in Greenwich, right at the edge of that wave of water. And The Valley would be a bit more like this.

If, like me, you grew up in London in the early 1980s, then last week’s storm was exactly what this terrifying ad (and this 1978 one) was about. Thank heavens for the Thames Barrier, the best £534 million we’ve ever spent.

4 comments

  1. diamond geezer

    Sorry to link to the Daily Mail, but the Environment Agency actually issued that map in March 2011 to show the effects of a worst case scenario flood in London.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1363703/Our-future-water-How-devastating-floods-swamp-major-cities.html

    Friday’s potential flood would never have reached that precise height, undoubtedly lower, and the area flooded would have been different, undoubtedly less.

    Like you I remain extremely grateful that the barrier is there, and did its work perfectly last week.

    But a flood on the scale depicted would have hit the rest of the Thames Estuary and East Coast so badly that Nelson Mandela’s death would have been pushed down the news to item number 2.

  2. Darryl

    Although the timing would indicate that was their intention, I think. Nonetheless, I’ll quietly change a “would” written while nodding off last night to “could”…

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