RTS Funding - Positive news but "Mind the Gap"!

What does the extra £60million pledged to the River Thames Scheme actually mean?

Listening to the Chancellor's Autumn Funding Statement, you could be forgiven for thinking that funding for the RTS was now secure and that the money would now be available from Central Government to finance the long term solution to flooding in the Lower Thames Valley.

The headlines point to an extra £60m from Central Government to help build the scheme that will protect up to 15000 homes at risk from the Thames flooding from Datchet to Teddington.

However, the extra £60m offered by George Osborne will not be available until after 2021 and remains subject to Local Funding being put in place.

Partnership funding still required by Central Government

Central Government is still sticking to the principle that, for the RTS to built, Local Government must make a significant contribution to its funding.

During the Summer, the National Audit Office under Oliver Letwin reviewed the Partnership principle to determine whether or not the calculation that only 53% of the cost of the funding scheme should be met by Central Government was reasonable in light of competing demands for flood alleviation in other parts of the country. 

The review appears to have confirmed that Local Government and other Partnership funding sources will still be expected to contribute 47% of the £302m estimated costs, now a total of £142m.

The Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee has also contributed £29m to which Surrey County Council have added £1.5m. 

Take into account the £60m extra now promised by the Chancellor after 2021, we estimate that it means that a total of £51.4m has to be found locally to fund the construction of the long term solution to flooding in the Lower Thames.

Funding still a stretch but now "do-able"

The Environment Agency has said that it needs a further £21m until 2021 to continue the planning and preparation work it is doing to ensure that RTS can be built after 2021 if all the funds are made available - it currently has some 60 staff working on planning and development of the RTS.

Spread over the next 7 years until 2021, this represents just £3m per Council or just £430k per year for each of the 7 Councils affected.

After 2021, we calculate that, with the extra £60m from Central Government, there remains a total of £30.4m to be supplied by the 7 Councils or just £4.3m per Council.  This is definitely "do-able".

Time to get real about local funding

Since the Partnership Funding principle was established by Central Government, ThamesAwash has argued consistently that the amount which it expected Local Government to contribute of £120m (47% of £256m) and now £142m (47% of £302m) was too great to be realistically found by local sources. These points were made to Dan Rogerson, then Minister for Defra, and Phillip Hammond, then Defence Secretary.

However, the £60m now offered by the Chancellor, albeit after 2021, does make a significant difference.

Moreover, given the obvious pressures on Central Government ( whatever the outcome of the General Election in May ) driven by the huge National Deficit, it is ThamesAwash's view that this is the best deal we are likely to get from Central Government.

Now is the time for Local Government to get real about finding the funds to get the RTS built and to challenge also the Utilities and Business to contribute as well. 

Local Councils must take up the funding challenge NOW

Realistically, even with funding in place, it will take at least 14 years from now to get the RTS built.

With a total of £51.4m to find, ThamesAwash estimates that this is only £1.03m per Council per year to find to fix flooding for good in the Lower Thames.

With the cost of borrowing now at an all time low, and with the long term borrowing options open to Councils for infrastructure projects of this type, Local Government have a range of funding strategies available.

In fact, it would be tantamount to negligence for Councils to continue to do nothing.  The reality is that since last year's disastrous floods practically nothing has been done to reduce the flood threat or to make our infrastructure more resilient to flooding. Electrical substations remain vulnerable; sewers will still overflow; hundreds are still out of their homes.

Now is the time to challenge your Local Councillors to take action to protect our homes and our futures from the flooding that will inevitably happen.

Now is the time to act! 

Ask your Local Councillor or prospective candidate - Do they support Council funding of the RTS?  

Make your vote dependent on it!

General press enquiries:                  press@thamesawash.com

Twitter: @ThamesAwash

www.ThamesAwash.com

Chris Bertram            Chairman                              07518 504403

David Young              Communications                    07711 652146

Press releases

“RTS funding has reached the Tipping Point” – Philip Hammond

Ministerial Thames Valley Flooding Envoy Philip Hammond MP and Adam Afriyie, MP for Windsor met with ThamesAwash on Friday 13th February to address persistent concerns raised by the flood pressure group over the slow pace of funding for the £300m River Thames Scheme, designed to provide a long term solution to flooding in the Lower Thames Valley.

Read More

RTS Funding - Positive news but "Mind the Gap"!

What does the extra £60million pledged to the River Thames Scheme actually mean?

Read More

ThamesAwash StressesTragedy Of Forgotten Flood Victims Eight Months On

Eight months on, most of those forced out of their house by flooding are still unable to return home

Read More

Flood Victims Raise The Roof............. And The Rest Of The House

The owners of one flooded property in Wraysbury can’t wait for the much-delayed RTS so are taking flood defences to the extreme by jacking up their two storey house ‘as is’ to rest above the flood levels

Read More

ThamesAwash Highlights £120m Black Hole In Flood Scheme Funding

Many local people thought they heard the phrase “money is no object” and do not realise that, as it stands, there is presently no funding package and no progress being made on the RTS relief scheme.

Read More

Spread the word!

Following unprecedented media attention now is the time to press for action on funding LTS. The most powerful weapon in our armory is the number of supporters.

If you want to help, the very best thing you can do is enlist as many people as possible.

Why not print out the A4 poster page for your window or car window. Or ask if you can display one of the 4 cards in your newsagent, coffee shop or office noticeboard.