Construction work has started on a scheme to improve Tilbury’s flood defences with the installation of new dual-function flood lock gates.
The initiative sees the existing port lock gates replaced with pioneering dual-function lock gates, with the Environment Agency’s tidal barrier being removed. The joint project between the Environment Agency and the Port of Tilbury aims to 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 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, according to the government.
Planning for the 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.
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 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.'
Charles Hammond, group chief executive of Forth Ports, owners of the Port of Tilbury, added: '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.'
The original port lock gates were installed in 1928 and Tilbury Barrier was constructed in 1980-1981.