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The Thames Barrier has been closed for most of today (Thursday, October 5) after a coastal surge put riverside communities on alert.

The barrier was closed at 10am and is likely to re-open at 4pm to reduce the risk of flooding.

During today’s closure the Thames Barrier, along with the associated gates and embankments, will be operating as part of the Environment Agency’s network of defences, protecting over 550,000 homes.

Thames Barrier

Thames Barrier

The 520m at Charlton takes 10 to 15 minutes to close.

Barrier manager Andrew Batchelor said: “We are closing the Thames Barrier to protect London from the threat of flooding due to high water levels around the time of high tides from the sea.”

To the east of the barrier, tides were noticeably higher, breaking the banks in some areas although not to a significant degree. High tide was marked at 1.08pm at North Woolwich at 7.1m with low tide tonight at 7.43pm at 0.6m.

Forthcoming scheduled closures

The Environment Agency operates the Thames Barrier every month for maintenance and testing. Once a year, they also test the barrier at a high spring tide (normally September or October). They may begin closing and re-opening the gates up to an hour before the times listed below.

  • Monday 9 October 2017 10:05am to 12:35pm
  • Wednesday 8 November 2017 09:30am to 12:00pm
  • Thursday 7 December 2017 09:25am to 11:55am
  • Monday 22 January 2018 09:45am to 12:15pm
  • Tuesday 20 February 2018 09:30am to 12:00pm
  • Thursday 22 March 2018 09:35am to 12:05pm
  • Thursday 9 April 2018 09:50am to 12:20pm

Information Centre opening times

  • 2 October 2017 to 22 October 2017, Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 3.30pm
  • 23 October 2017 to 29 October 2017, Monday to Sunday, 11am to 3:30pm
  • 30 October 2017 to 14 March 2018: closed for refurbishment