The Thames Barrier is an integral part of a larger flood defence network in London.
There are more than 36 industrial floodgates protecting riverside industry and 380 smaller, moveable defences. At the Thames Barrier we are also responsible for a dropdown barrier at Barking and three other large scale barriers located at the Royal Docks.
Defences from the Barrier down to the coast
Over 30 kilometres of flood defences were built downstream of the Barrier. These defences included the 60 metre high Barking Barrier. The Barking Barrier has a number of drop gates, which are held up, out of the water when not in use. This means commercial ships can use the Barking Creek uninterrupted.
The Barking Barrier, on Barking Creek at the confluence of the River Thames and Roding, comprises of a 38.6 metre wide, 320 ton navigable gate and three smaller 12 metre non-navigable low level wing gates, which are provided to maintain the natural river level.
The navigation opening at Barking is closed by a 38 metre wheel mounted vertical lift gate which, when open, is stored 34 metres above the high water to provide clearance for boats.
King George V
The King George V gate is located at the entrance lock to the Royal Docks, and the gate provides flood protection to the impounded area of the docks.
It consists of one 30.5 metre wide flap gate hung from an overhead travelling frame.
The Gallions Flood Defence Gate comprises a pair of normally closed reverse mitre gates installed in a 7.6 metre lock. The gate protects the lock entrance to Gallions Marina.
The Flap provides a flood defence seal serving the Royal Docks pumping station. The pumping station is used to maintain the water level in the Royal Docks. The Impounding Flap is a 4.4 metres wide, top-hinged gate.
Defences from the Barrier up through London
Upstream of Putney on the south bank and Hammersmith on the north, banks were also raised giving the same level of protection as in central London. These upstream defences reduce the risk of flooding when high upriver flows coincide with high tides that are not large enough to close the barrier.
Whilst these defences were being put in place we also made improvements to the riverside, like building river walks into the bank reconstruction work.