FLOOD DEFENCE CONFERENCE PLANNED

MPs from riverside constituences are to be invited to a forum to discuss the £260 million lower Thames flood prevention scheme.

The news follows a meeting between the Thames Awash campaign group and the deputy leader of Windsor and Maidenhead Council - which includes some of the worst affected areas.

The River Thames Scheme is a series of flood prevention measures between Datchet and Teddington on the lower non-tidal river. Although the Government says it will pay for part of the cost, a £120 million funding gap remains. Local authorities say they cannot find the rest of the money in the present financial climate.

After the meeting Chris Bertram, chairman of Thames Awash which has 3,000 members in flood-affected towns and villages like Datchet, Wraysbury and Chertsey, said: “ It is simply not realistic to expect the local councils involved to do this.  If central Government does not provide the full funding the whole scheme will simply not go ahead.  Flooded householders will not let this happen.”

See more details of the scheme here.

Councillor Simon Dudley, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead said that the council was in support of the River Thames Scheme and viewed it as a matter of national importance. 

He said: “We have written to George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, making it quite clear that we see this as a strategic national project that needs urgent central funding."

Invitation

The council has offered to host a forum with the other councils and interested parties to get to the bottom of the funding issue. Mr Dudley said:"We will also be inviting all relevant MPs."

Chris Bertram said: “In the week when the United Nations reported climate change will make extreme weather events more frequent and that we’ll all need to take precautions, it’s staggering that there has been no progress at all towards funding the RTS.”

“Even at the Environment Agency best estimates, we’re not going to be protected until 2026 at the earliest.  People are rightly scared and angry that, even after the trauma of the 2014 floods, there remains this impasse over how and when the RTS will be funded and started.  It needs funding now, then we will be able to challenge how long the construction needs to take.”

Meanwhile Runnymede Borough Council chief executive Paul Turrell has written to David Cameron, urging him to make money available for the flood prevention scheme.

Link to the Thames Awash website

Link to our earlier storyand other 'After the Floods' stories on our Archive Page

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