THE hunt is on to find money to help fund an alternative flood defence scheme that would protect four riverside villages.
The Environment Agency (EA) and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead are still on the lookout for potential partners to help invest in the Datchet to Hythe End scheme.
While details surrounding the project are unknown, it is said that it will reduce the risk of flooding and protect thousands of properties in Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury, and Old Windsor.
This proposed project is to replace channel one, which was the Royal Borough’s part of the River Thames Scheme. The council had to back away from that £500m project after it failed to raise its part of the project.
It now needs to find another scheme with the £10m it has and find partners that are willing to put further funds
in. The EA and the government will also pay parts of the scheme – but not all.
At a flood liaison meeting, Victor Freeney from the EA said they have made an application to Network Rail to invest in the project.
But this worried councillor Ewan Larcombe (The National Flood Prevention Party: Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury), saying this is being done “back to front,” meaning the authorities should decide if the money is available before the scheme is developed – just like what happened with channel one.
He said at the meeting on Wednesday, January 11: “We spent 10 years developing the River Thames Scheme, including channel one, and then when we got towards the finishing post, there was not enough money to drive the scheme forward and here we are starting again on something else.”
Cllr Larcombe warned the flood defence scheme will become a “political issue” during this year’s local election.
The chairman, Cllr David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury), lead member for public protection, stressed the EA and partners are looking for an affordable and deliverable project, before moving to another topic for discussion.
The EA is still assessing what schemes could come forward before submitting them for appraisal. Some of these options could include channel works, flood walls, embankments, and other engineering works.
Once signed off, it does not give the EA the go-ahead to start implementing the project but narrows down the number of schemes for further investigation work where another submission will be made later in the year.