An innovative scheme concerning a flood protection system will be implemented in the Port of Tilbury where the Thames River ends. The port is located about 35 kilometers southeast of London and is considered the principal port of the city. It receives about 16 million tons of products per year with a correspondent value of around $12 billion.
The existing flood protection system includes a tidal barrier installed 40 years ago and lock gates constructed in 1928. Both facilities will be removed and replaced by brand-new gates with a dual function. The locks will both act with an impoundment function and provide flood control. The tidal barrier has surpassed its design period and the maximum number of closures, therefore, it required certain modifications to be operative. The project is critical to ensure flood safety regarding the local area as it will protect 1.3 million people and properties with a total value of more than $377 billion from tidal flooding. "This is a very important project and an impressive engineering solution that will provide flood defenses for homes and businesses in the area for decades to come while ensuring the smooth marine operations at the Port of Tilbury," Paul Dale, Port of Tilbury’s Asset and Site Director, stated.
The construction works are expected to last for 18 months so the project is planned to be operational within 2022. The lock gates are going to be installed either in late 2021 or early 2022.
The new flood defense system has been planned for years between the UK's Environmental Agency and the Port of Tilbury. When completed, the defense system will be completely handled and operated by the Port of Tilbury. The total cost of the system will reach about $46.7 million.
According to the Chief Executive of the UK's Environment Agency, Sir James Bevan, the port is vital when it comes to the country's economy and prestige. The new flood defense system will both provide safety and will help in creating job opportunities and economic growth.
The project is part of the UK's long-term scheme regarding coastal defense and flood protection infrastructure. During the past 6 years, more than $3.5 billion have been dedicated to such projects while another $7.12 billion investments have been announced. It is estimated that those projects will provide safety for more than 300,000 residences in the UK by March 2021. The government recognizes the changes imposed by climate change and plans on making the UK resilient to flooding taking into consideration future conditions.
In 1953, the Tilbury port was impacted by tidal waves and flooded resulting in 307 casualties.