Water: a threat for the UK?


Avec les récentes inondations en France on peut se demander ce qu’il en est du Royaume-Uni, île vulnérable aux potentielles catastrophes côtières liées aux changements climatiques maritimes. En particulier qu’en est-il de la capitale ? 



France was not the only country hit by natural disasters recently: Wales, Scotland and western England are flooded because of strong winds and high tides. The Environment Agency has issued more than 300 lower-level flood alerts and warnings across England and Wales. Due to its geographic situation, the UK can be exposed to serious floods. Indeed, in England, more than 5 million properties are at risk of flooding – that’s nearly 1 in 6. Furthermore, with the rising sea levels, the increasing frequency of rainstorms, the risk of flooding will increase.


Flood warnings

Last month, North Sea surges, which were the largest since 1953, could also have flooded and even devastated part of the capital. But even if London is vulnerable to flooding, with the Thames River flowing through the city, it did not happen thanks to improved flood defenses, the Thames Barrier.

What is it?

flood barrier

It is a movable flood barrier that prevents London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges. This barrier built on the Thames River and operational since 1982 is closed when there is high tide to protect Greater London. It is administered by the Environment Agency. The Thames Barrier is about 520 metres long and 20 metres high and is composed of 10 steel gates. Facing the biggest tide since it opened in 1982, the Thames Barrier was closed twice last December for the 125th and 126th times in its history.

Let’s see how it works:

Water can be a potential threat for the UK as well as an undeniable resource since it can obviously be used for industrial, agricultural, household, environmental and recreational activities. Today hydraulic power is still a secondary source of power behind nuclear and wind.

Laura LENG & Lucie WACK


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