Construction work has started on an innovative scheme to improve Tilbury’s flood defences with the installation of new dual-function flood lock gates.
In a project of national importance, the existing port lock gates will be replaced with pioneering dual function lock gates, and the Environment Agency’s tidal barrier will be removed.
This is a major joint project between the Environment Agency and The Port of Tilbury that will safeguard thousands of homes and businesses in the local area.
Work started in January and is expected to last for 18 months with the new lock gates planned for installation in late 2021/early 2022.
Once the work is completed it will ensure a high standard of flood protection for Tilbury and provide a new navigation lock for operations at the busy port.
Planning for this project has been underway with the Environment Agency and the Port of Tilbury for several years. With total scheme costs of around £34 million, the Port of Tilbury London Ltd (PoTLL) is providing a multi-million-pound contribution to the project and will take responsibility for operation and maintenance of the new dual function structure. Funding has also been secured from the Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. Councillor Gerard Rice represents Thurrock Council on this Committee.
The Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Programme (TEAM2100) will deliver the work in partnership with a number of contractors including Jacobs and Balfour Beatty.
Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency Chief Executive said:
We are investing £5.2 billion in flood defences over the next 6 years. The Port of Tilbury is vital to our national economy. The new scheme is an important and exciting project that has both a flood protection and navigational purpose, and will help protect jobs and growth.
The Tilbury barrier will reduce flood risk for the port, residents and business. It is a key part of the Environment Agency’s new Flood Strategy, which aims to make the country resilient to flooding and coastal change – today, tomorrow and to the year 2100.
Charles Hammond OBE, Group Chief Executive of Forth Ports (owners of the Port of Tilbury) said:
This is a vital strategic project for not only the port but to safeguard the local community from any flood threat. We have worked with the Environment Agency for a number of years to carefully plan this major project and it is through this successful collaboration that this innovative scheme will become a reality.
Commenting on the project, Paul Dale, Port of Tilbury’s Asset and Site Director said:
This is a very important project and an impressive engineering solution that will provide flood defences for homes and businesses in the area for decades to come while ensuring the smooth marine operations at The Port of Tilbury.
Helena Henao Fernandez, Environment Agency Deputy Programme Director and Sam Stevens, TEAM2100 Delivery Partner Programme Director said:
We are excited with TEAM2100 progressing the Tilbury dual function lock gate project into the final stage of construction. This is a complex project that has required extensive planning, complex design solutions and strong collaboration between the Environment Agency, Port of Tilbury and the TEAM2100 delivery team. We look forward to playing our part in bringing this project to a safe conclusion, so that it can provide critical flood protection to Tilbury and the local communities for many years to come.
Paul Hayden, Regional Flood and Coastal Committee chair, said:
This important project has been supported by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee for many years. It is excellent news that construction has started.
This scheme is part of the government’s long-term investment in flood and coastal defences. Since 2015 it has invested £2.6 billion to better protect the country from flooding and coastal erosion and is on course to have better protected 300,000 homes by March 2021. Earlier this year, the government announced a record £5.2 billion investment in flood and coastal defences and the National FCRM Strategy will help build a better prepared and more resilient nation.
The original port lock gates were installed in 1928 and Tilbury Barrier was constructed in 1980-1981.