HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 cc101-2W
58. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the Thames Flood Barrier.

Mr. Graham Page

Although there are no developments of which the House has not been informed in answer to various Questions during the past few months, it may nevertheless be helpful to hon. Members if I summarise the present position in a statement.

Following is the Statement: The Government agree with the view of the Greater London Council that the right place for a moveable barrier is at Silvertown in Woolwich Reach and that it should be of the rising sector gate type, normally power-operated but capable of being closed without power. Areas downstream of Silvertown will be effectively protected by riparian works which will be co-ordinated with the construction of the barrier. The council are proceeding urgently with trial borings on the sites of the piers and are about to begin detailed design work.

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries said on 23rd March in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for the Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Tugendhat), grant at a special flat rate of 65 per cent. will be paid towards the approved cost of the barrier itself, of the associated permanent raising of river walls downstream and of the raising of the walls of the Thames in London as an interim measure of protection. It is at present estimated that the barrier will take about two years to design and it should therefore become possible to start work during 1973. At least four years will be necessary for completion.

I expect to receive the council's second report of studies shortly and shall, with their agreement, place copies in the Library.