ALTERNATIVE plans will be explored after an essential flood protection scheme goes ahead without the Royal Borough.
It was recently announced the £640 million River Thames Scheme – which was set up to protect 15,000 homes from Datchet to Teddington from flooding – was to progress without the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM).
Channel one – which would protect Datchet to Bells Weir – will be postponed whereas channels two and three – which covers Surrey to Teddington – will continue as planned.
This reason was the River Thames Scheme Sponsor Group – which has representatives from Surrey County Council, the Environment Agency (EA), Thames Water, etc. – decided ‘they are not prepared to wait further’ for RBWM to secure a further £43 million on their part of the project, according to councillor David Cannon (Conservative: Datchet, Horton, and Wraysbury), lead member for public safety and parking.
Three years ago, RBWM committed to make a £53 million contribution to the scheme subject on government allowing local authorities to place a flood levy on residents to pay for it – which RBWM heavily lobbied for but to no avail.
At a virtual flood liaison group meeting on August 12 (Wednesday), councillor Cannon said the council and EA will look into alternative schemes to protect Royal Borough residents from flooding.
He said: “There will be conversations between the borough and EA to understand what alternative flood alleviation schemes that can be put in place to protect our residents rather than the channel one.
“The borough has already £10 million in its budget line at the moment towards this scheme and there is environment agency money, I am advised, that would’ve been spent on channel one that may be available to us to contribute and fund other defences.”
Fellow ward councillor, Ewan Larcombe (National Flood Prevention Party), asked why the borough can’t find other ways of getting the necessary funds such as borrowing.
Cllr Canon responded that they won’t borrow more than they afford to and the council’s finance officer wouldn’t allow RBWM to borrow what they can’t afford to repay.