07:00AM, Monday 26 July 2021
The Royal Borough and Environment Agency are beginning on new projects to help tackle flooding in Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury and Old Windsor.
The work involves assessing potential longer-term options for reducing the risk and impact of flooding, including ideas suggested by parish councils and community groups.
Councillor David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury), cabinet member for public protection, said: “While Channel 1 of the River Thames Scheme was unfortunately neither viable nor deliverable without significant additional external funding, or the greater flexibility we sought over council tax, the council’s original commitment of £10m is still ring-fenced to contribute to alternative flood alleviation works.
“We know that the risk of flooding remains very real in these communities and we are acutely aware of people’s concerns.
“In the shorter-term, the council is looking to undertake flood-related improvement and maintenance works at Wraysbury Drain, Datchet barrel arch and Datchet Common Brook, with support from the Environment Agency.”
The Environment Agency will also be appointing a project officer to look at which longer-term schemes.
“We will keep residents informed as this complex work progresses and we will also be seeking to directly involve the community once we have identified possible approaches,” said Cllr Cannon.
He added that any approach would need to be ‘technically, ecologically and financially viable’, as well as acceptable to the community as a whole.
“Significant partnership funding would also need to be secured from other sources,” he said.
Jo Emberson-Wines, Environment Agency area flood and coastal risk manager said:
“Whilst you can never protect against every eventuality, we are determined to reduce flood risk in the area and help secure the necessary funding to make these communities safer.”
However, Cllr Ewan Larcombe, of the National Flood Prevention Part (Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) said that the council’s statement was ‘just another set of hollow promises.’
“The Royal Borough are all mouth and no action,” he said. “They are trying to cover their tracks because they know what’s coming – flooding downstream is inevitable.
“When we do flood, the Environment Agency and the Royal Borough will each be blaming the other.
“But the Royal Borough can’t say they’re not going to support funding (for the River Thames Scheme) and not take care of the existing land draining infrastructure.
“Wraysbury drain is dead, it’s just stagnant pools.”
This weekend’s smart motorway closures on the M4 will be shorter than usual due to separate bridge works taking place in West Berkshire (Junctions 13-14)