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New Thames flood barrier a stark reminder of climate change threat - Baker

January 10, 2005 12:00 AM

Thames Barrier flood defence on the River Thames at Woolwich.Responding to plans to erect a new 10-mile flood barrier across the Thames, the Liberal Democrats reveal Government figures that predict the threat of flooding to be so severe that the current barrier may have to be raised up to 325 times a year by 2100.

In the last five years the barrier has been raised 55 times. In the five years before April 1999 the barrier was only raised 12 times.

The forecasts from DEFRA show that under the current climate change predictions, the barrier will need to be raised:

Commenting, Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Secretary, said:

"These shocking figures explain why a new flood barrier will soon be essential for London. But prevention is always better than a cure.

"The figures are a stark reminder that climate change is real and is already affecting the lives of people in Britain and it is high time the Government started taking its threat seriously.

"Last year the Government's plans to build new homes in the Thames Gateway were published without any research on environmental constraints being completed.

"John Prescott's so-called sustainable communities are nothing of the sort. Londoners are not being told the truth."