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Lecture

Thames Barrier: A legacy of protection and navigating London's flood resilience

Event organised by ICE

Date
09 May 2024
Time
18:30 - 20:00 BST (GMT+1)
Location
Institution of Civil Engineers
One Great George Street
Westminster
London, SW1P 3AA
United Kingdom

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Overview

Join us at ICE London as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II unveiling of the Thames Barrier, a symbol of London's flood resilience. Since 1984, this engineering marvel has safeguarded millions of lives along the River Thames. Our event honours its history, achievements, and addresses future flood challenges facing London. 

We are honoured to announce the presence of Prof. Anusha Shah, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers. During the event, she will deliver an inspiring opening speech, setting the stage for insightful discussions.

As climate change continues to present challenges to London, we will hear from experts on how to manage tidal flood risk in the Thames estuary throughout the 21st century.

We will hear about the I-STORM network - the international knowledge sharing network for all those working in the storm surge barrier industry.

This event gives all those who have worked on the Thames Barrier over the years, or are interested and involved in future flood management programmes, to share their views and stories as we continue to find ways to managing the challenges of flooding in our major cities.

Speakers

Richard Bayfield

Richard Bayfield

Institution of Civil Engineers

trustee for ethics and professional conduct

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Richard Bayfield

Richard is the Chair the ICE Ethics Committee and currently the ICE Trustee responsible for ethics. Richard’s civil engineering career comprises senior roles as a contractor, consultant and client. He has also studied law and was Chair of the Society of Construction Law in 2003/4. He is one of four civil engineers who have been made Honorary Members of the society. In 2006 he was appointed to the construction minister’s sounding board of six, chaired by the late Sir Michael Latham, which advised on proposed changes to UK construction legislation.

His early career began with Costain working on major projects including the Thames Barrier. The latter part of his career has involved working with large client organisations including Honda, UCL, New College Oxford, and the Church Commissioners. These client leadership roles have subsequently attracted peer awards for successful project delivery. The client role has majored on establishing a positive project culture, clear project governance and pro-active risk management processes. Richard occasionally lectures and writes about client leadership, including methods such as early warnings and conflict avoidance strategies to establish a true collaborative culture.

Richard often acts as an independent project advisor providing a second opinion or peer review on the status of a project. Sometimes this may be formalised into an Adjudicator’s Decision. Frequently such advice is obtained to avoid a formal dispute. Richard was previously appointed to dispute panels for Terminal 5 and the London 2012 Olympics.

Laura Littleton

Laura Littleton

Environment Agency

thames estuary 2100 manager

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Laura Littleton

As Thames Estuary 2100 manager, Laura manages delivery of the Thames Estuary 2100 Plan - an adaptive strategy for managing rising sea levels and creating climate resilient riversides in London and the Thames Estuary.

Laura’s teams are responsible for the portfolio governance and management, engagement and stakeholder management, influencing riverside strategy and placemaking, and developing the investment approach. They coordinate and monitor delivery, enabling Environment Agency teams and stakeholders to work together to implement the adaptive approach to creating a resilient estuary.

With a background in engagement and flood risk management, Laura has been at the Environment Agency for 12 years. She has worked on various flood risk schemes across London and the South East including the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. She is a member of the London Climate Change Partnership and a Trustee for environmental charity Thames21.

Andrew J Batchelor

Andrew J Batchelor

Thames Tidal Defences

operations manager

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Andrew J Batchelor

Andrew Batchelor is Thames Tidal Defences operations manager of the Environment Agency in the United Kingdom.

In England, the Environment Agency has the strategic overview role for all sources of flooding. Its objective is, through flood risk management, to reduce the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea through the management of land, river systems, and flood and coastal defences. It also works to reduce the damage floods can cause through effective land use planning, appropriate flood warning and emergency response.

In London, 420K properties and 1.4M people covering an area of 115sq km, are at risk from flooding by the tidal River Thames. This area contains not only the country’s main centre of commerce but the seat of its Parliament. It is of great importance to manage the flood risk to this capital city, to protect the infrastructure at risk.

Mr. Batchelor is a civil engineer with over 44 years professional engineering experience in flood defence, with the Environment Agency and its predecessor organisations. He has extensive experience on the River Thames, having been involved in the construction of the main tidal flood defences in the 1970 / 1980s.

In 1984, following commission, he transferred to the Thames Barrier where he has held various roles responsible for maintenance, flood forecasting and warning and operational control. In 1999, he became overall manager, holding responsibility for the tidal flood risk management of London, including the Thames Barrier, associated floodgates and 195km of tidal walls and embankments. 

Mr. Batchelor has also led major reviews following flooding events and in incident response capability. He also project managed the change to the flood warning codes in use across England and Wales today, to inform the public and professional partners of increasing flood risk.

In 2006, Mr. Batchelor co-founded I-STORM, the International network of Storm Surge Barriers, and is presently Chair of the Delivery Board. The aim of I-STORM is to bring the storm surge barrier community of practice together, to seek the very best standards of operation, management and performance, in order to reduce the risk of severe flooding to people, property and places around the world.

Rory O'Grady

Rory O'Grady

Thames Barrier

civil engineer and author

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Rory O'Grady

Rory is both a civil engineer and author - he is about to publish a book on the Thames Barrier.

He was born in Doncaster, an industrial town in the heart of South Yorkshire, the son of an Irish RAF Officer and an Anglo-Welsh mother. His father was posted to a new RAF station every few years, so he started life as a nomad. They had travelled extensively, but decided to settle in Bournemouth, a pleasant seaside town on the south coast, where he went to school.

Rory moved to London to study civil engineering which seemed a good solution to combine work and travel. His career took him all round the world, including the Middle East, Nigeria, Hong Kong, China and Japan working with some of the world’s best consultants and contractors from many different nationalities, and in unusual places. He was based in Hong Kong for twenty years, working on the construction of major bridges.
 
In 2015 Rory retired to Canterbury to write. He started with a biography of a Victorian explorer, anti-slaver and administrator Sir Frederick Lugard and his wife Dame Flora Shaw, the first woman Colonial editor of the Times. He was related to them by marriage, and found them both fascinating characters of the late Victorian era.
 
The book took four years to research and publish, but he had started initial research ten years earlier. The Passionate Imperialists was published in late 2018.
 
Rory started researching for the next book immediately. It relates the stories of the passengers and crew on a regular flight from London to Naples involved in a mid-air collision over Italy in 1958. His elder brother was one of the crew. It started from a chance call in 2018 from the son of the radio officer on the flight, and involved flying to Italy for the 60th commemoration service, a memorable visit to Malta, and a long awaited trip to Ireland.

It has been a very moving and enlightening journey, and uncovering many new facts about the tragedy. The Flight of the Arctic Fox was published on 7 September 2021.

Prof. Anusha Shah

Prof. Anusha Shah

Institution of Civil Engineers

president 2023/24

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Prof. Anusha Shah

Anusha Shah is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and its president for the 2023-24 session. She’s the third woman and first person of colour to be elected as president in over 200 years of ICE history.

She’s a senior director for resilient cities and UK climate change adaptation lead at Arcadis, a global sustainability, design, engineering and management consulting firm.

She’s also a non-executive director at the Met Office, a trustee at the Green Alliance and a visiting professor at Edinburgh University. She was awarded honorary professorship by the University of Wolverhampton for knowledge transfer and an honorary doctorate of engineering by the University of East London for her services to address climate change.

Anusha specialises in water and environmental engineering and has over 22 years of experience in designing, managing and leading projects and programmes in the UK and internationally.

Anusha sits on various industry climate change groups. She represents Arcadis at the London Climate Change Partnership and the 50L Home Initiative of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. She’s a past chair of the Thames Estuary Partnership Board.

Anusha is the recipient of several awards, including the 2020 Top 50 UK Women Engineers Sustainability Award and the CECA Inspiring Change Award. She was recognised by Climate Reframe as one of the UK’s leading Black, Asian and minority ethnic voices on climate change.

For more information please contact:

Kirsty Joyce