Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Thames Barrier is 30

One of the high spots of the Erith to Greenwich walk was passing by the Thames Barrier, which is 30 today.

With global warming raising sea levels the barrier has been getting busier and busier - raised 174 times in its lifetime so far to protect the capital plus additionally for testing.

Rather annoyingly the Thames Path is diverted just downstream from the barrier so you have to head inland for half a mile or so before getting up and close to this metallic guardian.

With a shape reminiscent of a row of Sydney Opera Houses and gleaming silver of a Cyberman its fair to say it has become one of the icons of London


O Docker said...

30 years old?

In the states that's ancient and there would already be debates about whether to add it to the historical landmarks register or tear it down.

Those opposed would replace it with something more modern and efficient and profitable to the private sector.

Environmentalists would claim it's been responsible for the extinction of several aquatic species.

Developers would have plans to turn the site into homes, offices, shopping, and greenways for thousands, resulting in jobs for thousands more.

But in London, all of those factions repair to the pubs and thrash out their differences.

Here, for want of a pub, we are doomed to bicker on endlessly, unable to accomplish or resolve a thing.

JP said...

We seem to also take our time - look at the delays in planning of anything controversial such as the Heathrow terminal 5, extra runways for London, High Speed 2 etc etc

The process usually does seem to get there eventually. It helps that the main parties accept the national benefits of major infrastructure spending.

But what can be approved can be limited by the complications of the planning process - such as the suggestion to put a north-south water pipe in at the same time as the high speed track was considered too complicated - not for the engineering but for parliamentary process!