§ 9. Mr. Jessel
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is satisfied with the progress of measures to prevent the River Thames flooding.
§ Mr. John Silkin
Work on raising the flood defences upstream and downstream of Central London is proceeding satisfactorily but progress on the Thames barrier is disappointingly slow.
§ Mr. Jessel
When is the completion of the Thames barrier now due? Why is there so much delay on that and, indeed, on the local flood walls as well? As there is great anxiety in parts of Twickenham and Teddington, will the Minister say what can be done to accelerate these works?
§ Mr. Silkin
This is a very important and vital problem. It is a problem not just for Twickenham—although Twickenham has its special problems—but for London as well. The latest date by which the GLC believes the Thames barrier will be completed is late in 1983. I have been meeting the leader of the GLC with a view to discussing how the scheme might be accelerated. Although the odds in any year against a flood are supposed to be 50 to 1, I am convinced that it could be a very great danger to the citizens of London if it came.