Surrey set to invest £270m in flood defence schemes

Surrey County Council is set to give flood defence schemes along the River Thames £270m to help protect 15,000 homes.

The cabinet is due to meet on 29 October and approve making the investment, which will include a contribution to the £640m River Thames Scheme.

Around £404m has already been committed to the project, including £308 million from central government and a further £95m of partnership funding.

The Environment Agency and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead have also agreed contributions towards the scheme.

The scheme will create three flood alleviation channels alongside the River Thames and improve capacity at three weirs.

It will run from Datchet in Berkshire, through Surrey to Teddington. The scheme will also support a greener future, with four country parks created as well as 23km of new footways and cycle paths.

Surrey County Council’s funding also includes £33m to spend over 10 years on other flood alleviation projects across the county.

These could be jointly-funded, such as the recently unveiled flood alleviation scheme in Godalming which was funded by the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council and others.

‘The floods in 2014 were devastating for Surrey and ever since then it’s been clear we need to do all we can to make sure our residents and their properties are protected from such risks in the future,’ said council leader, Cllr Tim Oliver.

“That’s why it’s vital that work such as the Surrey Flood Alleviation Programme gets the funding it needs. As well as developing a programme of flood works across the county it will make sure that the River Thames Scheme can proceed.’

The council is proposing to borrow some of the money as well as developing a masterplan to identify long term opportunities to help fund the works – such as new eco-communities with housing and employment on land unlocked by the River Thames Scheme.

Welcoming the news, the Environment Agency’s chief executive, Sir James Bevan, said: ‘The River Thames scheme is a vital project which will see thousands of homes, businesses and vital infrastructure better protected from flooding for decades to come.

‘The huge scale of this project demonstrates what can be achieved when partners come together to achieve a common goal of helping to protect communities and boosting the local economy whilst also establishing a lasting green legacy for the area.’

Photo Credit – Hev65 (Pixabay)


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