Flood relief meeting without relief

Richard Hancock (EA) Ben Crampin (RBWM) Dan Glasson (EA) & Brianne Vally (EA)

The River Thames between Datchet and Teddington is one of the largest areas of undefended, developed floodplain in England. The area suffered serious floods in the past. Climate change means the risk of flooding is only going to grow. A long-term, sustainable plan is needed to deal with this risk.” Environment Agency March 2021.

This evenings public meeting in The Hub, with Wraysbury Parish Council and representatives from The Environment. Agency (EA) and Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead (RBWM) left most of the attendees frustrated and annoyed.

Phil Jackson said “I was expecting them to present some sort of plans, but unfortunately all that was offered was a vague process, with absolutely no guarantees that anything will be done at all.”

“The Environment Agency and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead are working in partnership to find solutions that work for communities and their environment. It is not possible to protect against every eventuality. But we are determined to reduce the risk of flooding and help secure the necessary funding.”

Wraysbury Village Green in 2014

The greatest anger was directed at RBWM, Councillor Larcombe complained they had secured the main population areas of Windsor and Maidenhead, at the expense of the villages in the extreme east of the borough. RBWM claim to have put aside £10M for the flood improvement measures, but this is but a small fraction of the £48m they had previously committed to contribute to the previous scheme, which collapsed on their withdrawal of the funding.

The representatives of EA and RBWM present at the meeting tried to put a brave face on the current situation, and have promised to work with the community to deliver the best solution available, given the limited funding, and to endeavour to put the best argument forward to obtain maximal government funding. Current funding requirements now require a partnership between the government and other stakeholders, namely RBWM, who do not seem very committed to find more money. Unfortunately borough councillor Cannon was unable to attend the meeting.

Their presentation was based around a series of slides, copies of which will be forwarded to us, and we will publish them on Wraysbury.com, for your information, as soon as they do.

A local resident pointed out that their cost of insurance was in excess of £6,000 a year, and that unless something was done to alleviate the risks, these costs would become unsustainable. The greatest frustration felt by the residents was that nothing had been achieved in the nine years since the last major flooding incident, and despite promises during that crisis, they are no nearer a solution, indeed, with the promised funding from the government and RBWM having been used for other schemes, they felt ever more abandoned.

“By 2050 UK average winter rainfall could increase by approximately 41%. Peak river flows could increase by approximately 50%. This will increase flooding severity and intensity for communities, business and infrastructure.” EA March 2021

The meeting ended with The EA representatives promising to return to give an update, “Before the end of the year”, which will of course be just as we enter the peak flood risk period for another year. They undoubtedly understood, and respected the fears of the residents, and have promised to do their best, let’s see if they can, finally, create a plan to give the patient residents some real hope.



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