ThamesAwash StressesTragedy Of Forgotten Flood Victims Eight Months On

For the majority of those flooded in January and February 2014 and forced out of their homes, the nightmare is still a reality that affects them daily.  Bureaucratic Council officials, obdurate insurance companies and red tape have combined to prevent effective and rapid action to help flood victims return to their homes whilst little or no real progress has been made to ensure that the long term solution to flooding in the Lower Thames (the River Thames Scheme) is funded.

Jim And GillieStories from Ham Island, Old Windsor, Berkshire – Flood victims still out of their homes………

On Ham Island, several houses were flooded, three of which resulted in evacuation and those households are still unable to return.  Flood wardens Gillie and Jim’s nightmare still continues.  With Jim in hospital recovering from surgery, Gillie had to abandon their home and they have been forced to move three times to different rented accommodation whilst their insurance company has taken over 7 months to “assess” the damage to their home.  In this time, their once beautiful lockside house has been wrecked whilst engineers try to determine the extent of the damage – floors have been taken up, walls have been removed, ceilings taken down and foundations dug up.

No choice but to rebuild – but no funds to afford it

The structural engineer’s report indicates that Gillie and Jimmie’s house needs to be re-built but the Local Authority will only allow this if the house is re-built at least a metre higher.  However, the Insurance Company will only fund the reinstatement of Gillie and Jimmie’s current house which means that they would have to find the extra money.  As pensioners in their 60s and 70s, this is something that they cannot afford; and so, the nightmare continues.  Why should they after all they have been through battle with the insurance company to find a solution?  What does the future hold for them?

Zara’s Story - Flooded in Pooley Green, Egham Hythe, Surrey & still homeless...

On 14th February, Zara called her local council to say that water was coming into her house, coming over the door, and seeping in through her floor boards.  Eventually, an evacuation team arrived and she had to explain to her two young sons that they had to leave their home, their toys and treasured things to meet an uncertain future. 

With no civil emergency contingency plan in place, this consisted of an offer from an hotelier for shelter in an hotel which had been closed for refurbishment.  The three of them were offered a single room in the hotel with a bathroom and no play area for the children.  There was no assessment of the suitability of the accommodation for Zara and her two young children.  Every day, Zara faced a 40mile return trip to get her son Sam to school.  After 4 weeks of this, she was offered different temporary accommodation at another hotel – but this time, the nearest parking for the car was a mile away!  Since then, Zara has had to move a further three times and finally to more temporary accommodation in Chertsey where at last she thought she could re-establish a more normal life. 

However, the Council have told her that she will have to return to her flat in Pooley Green.  The only catch is that her home is still boarded up and the Council have no idea when they will start the repairs.  Zara has heard rumours that the Council do not intend to do this until we are through the next winter in case the flooding starts all over again…  In the meantime, Zara is still faced with paying standing charges for the electricity and gas at her old flat which she has not been able to live in since February.

Just 7 months left to fund the permanent solution for flooding

Gillie, Jimmie and Zara’s situation are just two stories amongst hundreds of tragic human stories that can be told.  The economic impact for the region is equally serious with thousands of work days lost with each flood event as a result of flooding to roads and railway.

The reality is that the flooding we experienced this year is going to get worse and happen more often unless something is done.

The permanent solution for flooding in the Lower Thames Valley, the River Thames Scheme, has been designed, approved and only awaits a commitment to its funding.

Central government has committed £136m of the £256m required within the current funding round.  The rest needs to be agreed by the 7 Local Authorities whose constituents are affected.  If this is not agreed before the next election, the prospect of this permanent solution being implemented within the next 30 years will disappear.

The lower Thames Valley has the highest number and value of homes, businesses and public infrastructure unprotected and at threat from flooding in the whole of the United Kingdom.  All those threatened need to lobby their local Councils to support partnership funding for the River Thames Scheme.  Whether we fix flooding for good in the Lower Thames Valley really is at stake right now.

 

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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?

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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

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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.