New structure adds final location in programme to provide data for flood risk management
A decades long programme to install tidal gauges to measure activity around the UK’s coastlines has been completed with the opening of a new structure at The Wash in Lincolnshire.
The Environment Agency said it completes the national network of 44 gauges that record information about sea levels to provide accurate forecasts.
It rounds up the provision of the UK Tidal Gauge Network, which was originally conceived in 1953 after heavy floods hit the east coast of England. This has involved the creation of sea level monitoring sites around the country, funded through partnerships between the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural Resources Wales and Rivers Agency Northern Ireland.
Claire Rose, flood and coastal risk management team leader at the Environment Agency, said: “This new gauge has a practical benefit for local communities as the information it gathers on sea levels will help us predict tidal surges and therefore improve our flood warning service.
“It’s a nationally important project, too, as it fills in the last gap in the UK’s monitoring network to give us the best picture of tidal conditions across the country.”
Grant In Aid
The new gauge was built for £6 million with funds from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ flood defence Grant In Aid scheme, and is expected to be have a 60 year lifespan.
In addition to the tide measuring equipment, it has instruments to measure wind speed and direction, air pressure and temperature, water quality and salinity.
It is joining others in the network in providing data every 15 minutes to the Environment Agency’s SWANTEL telemetry system in Peterborough, where it is distributed to flood forecasting systems. The data is also sent to the three devolved governments’ flood risk management authorities, the Met Office, National Oceanography Centre and British Oceanographic Data Centre.
It is used for flood forecasting, to track the progress of coastal surges around UK waters and to provide a strategic overview of the coastal conditions around the UK.
The Met Office uses the data in a coastal surge model, producing tide tables for strategic locations, along with data sets for flood modelling, mapping applications and modelling of extreme sea levels.
Academics and researchers are also able to use the data.
Pictured: The new tidal gauge at The Wash, from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0