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Britain's King Canute moment at the Jubilee.

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Anne Diamond | 14:44 UK time, Tuesday, 12 June 2012

thames barrier

My guest this morning was Howard Davidson, Director of the Environment Agency in our area. He has a mammoth job - basically responsible for everything to do with air, land and water - and particularly at the moment, floods!
He's also responsible for the Thames Barrier, the giant construction that quite literally holds back the tide.

Legally, the Agency can only operate the Barrier when there's an environmental need - when the incoming sea threatens the Thames basin. So when the organisers of the Jubilee River Pageant asked if they could use the Barrier to 'equalise' the water throughout the river, and make it easier for the thousand participating craft, the official answer had to be 'no'.

However, they managed to get around this by shifting the timing of the only one time they CAN operate the Barrier without an environmental need - and that's the annual test.
So while the rest of us were celebrating a Jubilee event, the guys at the Thames Barrier were testing it! Clever stuff!

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