CONSTRUCTION work has started on a £34 million scheme that is set to safeguard thousands of homes and businesses by improving Tilbury’s flood defences with the installation of new dual function flood lock gates at the town's port.
The existing port lock gates, first put in place in 1928, will be replaced with pioneering dual function lock gates and the Environment Agency’s tidal barrier, currently in place at the port after being completed in 1981 will be removed.
Work started in January and is expected to last for 18 months with the new lock gates planned for installation in late 2021 or 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 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. Cllr Gerard Rice represents Thurrock Council on this committee. The Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Programme (TEAM2100) will deliver the works in partnership with a number of contractors including Jacobs and Balfour Beatty.
Sir James Bevan, Environment Agency Chief Executive said: “We are investing £5.2billion in flood defences over the next six 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.”
The port is owned by Forth Ports and its group chief executive Charles Hammond 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.”
Port of Tilbury’s Asset & Site Director Paul Dale 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.”