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Thames Barrier Annual Closure

07.08.2019

The Thames Barrier, which protects 125 square km of London from tidal flooding, is to carry out its annual full tide test closure on Sunday 29 September.

The Thames Barrier is an iconic example of British design and engineering that protects 1.25 million people and a huge amount of important London infrastructure. It is built across a 520 metre stretch of river and its annual test closure offers visitors the chance to see how it works and meet the teams who operate it and protect London from flooding.   

Andy Batchelor, Thames Barrier Operations Manager, said: “The Barrier is quite a spectacle and the annual test closure makes an interesting and unique day out for all the family. The Thames Barrier View Café and Information Centre will be open all day with guides giving regular talks and providing a running commentary and interviews with staff who work at the Thames Barrier on the riverfront via our PA system, while you take in the spectacular views of the Barrier in action!".

During the test closure, the Thames Barrier gates rotate 90 degrees into the fully closed defence position, stopping the tide from going into London. As the tide continues to rise, a higher level of water will build up downstream of the Barrier creating different water levels on either side of the gates. Shortly after high tide, the gates rotate further, creating a 2 metre gap underneath. This is called the underspill position, which is visually spectacular, as it creates a dramatic white water effect behind each of the gates. This underspill continues for approximately 2 hours. 

This year in the Regatta London is taking advantage of the planned closure, so make a day of it and visit both events to really enjoy London and the River Thames.

For approximate event times and when to see the Thames Barrier in operation please see the barrier website: www.gov.uk/the-thames-barrier

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