ThamesAwash Highlights £120m Black Hole In Flood Scheme Funding

Flood pressure group, ThamesAwash, which already represents nearly 3,000 registered members, met with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead yesterday to highlight the £120m gap in funding for the lower Thames flood alleviation scheme (RTS) to protect households from Datchet to Teddington.

ThamesAwash Chairman, Chris Bertram said: “We need to be clear – whilst the Environment Agency has approved this scheme, Central Government has only committed to just over half the cost of funding this and is expecting local government to finance the rest.  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.”

The RTS is a series of channels and improvements from Datchet to Teddington, designed to reduce the risk of future River Thames flooding.  It has been on the drawing board awaiting funding since 2003.

Deputy Leader of RBWM, Simon Dudley, said that the council was in support of the RTS scheme and viewed it as a matter of national importance.  “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.”

The RTS is presently estimated to cost £265m in capital building costs, around £135m of which is catered for in the current spending review but that leaves the remaining £120m “partnership funding” to be found from local government, businesses, land owners etc.

Thames Flooding Costs Up To £10bn

There have been wide-ranging estimates of the cost of the 2014 River Thames floods ranging up to as high as £10Bn but of course this is spread widely across businesses, insurers, utilities and individuals.  Against this, the £265m cost of the RTS looks a very good investment for the country.

A Thames Flooding Conference?

RBWM is the site of the only significant alleviation scheme in recent years, the Jubilee River, and has offered to host a forum with the other councils and significant stakeholders along the affected stretch of river in order to get to the bottom of the funding issue.

Mr Dudley said that he would be compiling a list of the other local government contacts and would be happy to host a meeting of minds that seeks to clear the logjam on investment.

ThamesAwash is keen to support what it perceives to be a positive move from the RBWM and will be working with it and other lower Thames councils to pressurise Central Government to bridge the funding gap.

Every Minute Counts

Chris Bertram, Chairman of ThamesAwash commented: “In the week when the United Nations reported that 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.”

ThamesAwash represents thousands of householders and businesses that were impacted in 2003, 2007, 2012 and again in 2014, many of whom were flooded, displaced, lost business, cannot get insurance or simply couldn't get to their school or office.

“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.”

ThamesAwash To Meet With Flooding Minister, Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond, with his Defence Secretary hat on, was famously taken to task live on SKY News at Wraysbury village green at the height of the flooding by Su Burrows.  Now he has been appointed by the Prime Minister as a Ministerial envoy for flooding in the Thames Valley.  “We will be communicating to Mr Hammond the concerns of the communities along the Thames that these supposedly 1 in 100 year events are clearly increasing in frequency and impact” said Chris Bertram.  “We’ve had ample warnings so next time people will be looking for someone to blame - the very least they expect is to hear that it’s a work in progress.”

Money Is Exactly The Object

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.  

ThamesAwash is appealing to everyone affected from Datchet down to Teddington to register their support.  Over 2,000 people have already enrolled but it’s imperative that everyone interested registers with the site.

ThamesAwash registration is:

Ends

General press enquiries: press@thamesawash.com

Twitter: @ThamesAwash

www.ThamesAwash.com

Chris Bertram Chairman 07436 542200 chris@thamesawash.com

Gillie Bolton Press/Media 07779 662251 gillie@thamesawash.com

 

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?

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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

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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.