Datchet adviser clashes with Environment Agency over flood defense plans
NO CLARITY over when alternative flood defense schemes will be delivered has prompted a top adviser to clash with the Environment Agency (EA).
Members of the Flood Liaison Group heard about alternative plans to reduce flooding and protect properties and businesses in Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury and Old Windsor.
The Royal Borough is working with the EA to find alternative flood defense systems with its £10million after being kicked out of the £640million River Thames Scheme partnership nearly two years ago which would have protected the owners of Datchet in Teddington.
The EA is in the early stages of developing plans to put in place a flood mitigation program from Datchet to Hythe End which will reduce flooding and coastal erosion in the surrounding areas.
Speaking at the meeting on Thursday April 21, Councilor David Cannon (Con: Datchet, Horton & Wraysbury), senior member of public protection, said he had “seen nothing” about the date program delivery.
He said: “About over a year ago we asked for suggestions for designs and ideas from local parish councils and local water communities and experts, and nothing was heard from them. ‘EA or working groups. There doesn’t seem to be any progress. »
EA’s Brianne Vally said she worked “closely” with the board and had a program steering group that had shared some kind of timeline that fit into the “lifecycle normal of the EA project”.
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Cllr Cannon criticized Ms Vally for ‘not answering the question’ and the EA for canceling the last two strategy meetings with the Royal Borough where those concerns could have been addressed.
He said: “We have to know a deadline. At the moment, what we see here is very ethereal.
“I understand that there is a process to follow, but there are people whose houses are at risk, and they ask us.
“You say you work with us, but we don’t have the answers because you don’t share them with us.
“The project needs to engage with the community and let us know what the timelines are because right now even you yourself from what you’re hearing are not sure of the timeline for this.”
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Victor Freeney, director of Consultancy Services, said he understood Cllr Cannon’s “frustration” at not having timelines or milestones, but said they would give dates for the first phase of development of the project.
However, he said it was “unlikely” that firm dates for the second phase would be given when the EA develops a business case for the program.
Mr Freeney said: ‘We wouldn’t want that estimate released publicly, because what happens then is things take longer, we find out things that we didn’t anticipate, and everything people think the project is slipping and we’re not doing our jobs right, which we’re not.
“The purpose of the investigation is to find out these things and it’s very much part of business as usual.”
EA agreed to come back with timelines for the first phase and not to cancel future strategy meetings with the board.