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Construction progresses on £34 million flood defence project in London’s major port

  • Construction progresses on £34 million flood defence project in London’s major port
    Credit: GOV.UK
  • Work started in January 2021 and is expected to last for 18 months with the new lock gates planned for installation in late 2021/early 2022.
  • Once the work is completed it will ensure a high standard of flood protection for Tilbury and provide a new navigation lock for operations at the busy port.
  • The Port of Tilbury is the largest multi modal port in the south east. Sitting on the north bank of the Thames just 22 nautical miles east of central London, it is perfectly placed to handle cargo for London 

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Work is progressing on this project of national importance to install new dual function lock gates on the Thames Estuary in Tilbury.

The £34 million scheme is a project between the Environment Agency and the Port of Tilbury that will better protect thousands of homes and businesses in the local area from flooding.

The project will see 3 pairs of lock gates at the entrance lock to the port replaced. Each gate is approximately 15 metres tall and 19 metres wide; the equivalent approximately of 3 double decker buses high and the length of a cricket pitch wide.

The outer gates will be raised in height and tie into the adjacent flood walls so that they perform the dual function of a navigational and flood risk management asset.

Since work started in January 2021 the main highlights include:

  • the locating and identification of multiple electric cables to be diverted around the works areas
  • installation and testing of 2 x 36 metre long test piles to inform the foundation design for the new outer gate ram pits
  • construction of the replacement control buildings foundation slabs
  • a rolling programme of refurbishments of the sluices which control water levels between the gates

Fabrication of the new middle and inner gates is underway in Holland, and detailed design work is continuing on the new gate control systems.

John Curtin, Environment Agency Executive Director for Local Operations, said:

It has been great to have visited the construction site at Tilbury Port and to meet the team delivering this nationally important collaborative project. It is a complex project, involving construction activities around the busy port entrance - but I’ve been really impressed by the professional approach of the joint team with the ongoing support of Tilbury Port staff as we make important strides to better protect over 2,500 properties from flooding.

Helena Henao-Fernandez, Environment Agency Team 2100 Deputy Programme Director, said:

The Tilbury dual function lock gates project is a perfect example of collaborative working between different organisations to tackle the effects of climate change. By working together, we are providing better protection against the risk of flooding to the local communities as well as delivering a suite of wider outcomes and benefits.

Paul Dale, Port of Tilbury’s Asset and Site Director, said:

We are pleased that the construction work for this important project is well underway. It is vitally important that we get this new engineering solution in place to provide flood defences for homes and businesses for the future. It is great to welcome the Environment Agency team to the port today for an overview of the progress of the project so far.

Once completed the new dual function lock gates will ensure a high standard of flood protection for Tilbury along with the new navigation lock for operations at the port.

New timber sluice gate paddles

This scheme is part of the Government’s long-term investment in flood and coastal defences. Since 2015 it has invested £2.6 billion to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion meeting the target of better protecting 300,000 homes this March.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal defences and the National FCRM Strategy will help build a better prepared and more resilient nation.

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