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The Jubilee River story - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Jubilee River? - The Jubilee River is a man-made channel approximately 11km long by 50m wide and running parallel to the River Thames.  The purpose of the channel is to reduce the risk of flooding in Windsor, Eton and Maidenhead.  The channel is designed to extract floodwater from the Thames at Taplow in Buckinghamshire, then convey and return that floodwater to the Thames at Datchet in Berkshire.  Jubilee River - MAP (EA) 163Kb.pdf

When was it built?  Construction started in the mid-1990's and the channel was opened in 2002.

How much did it cost? About 110m up to 2002, but then things started to go wrong!

What's wrong with the Jubilee River?

How much flood water does the Jubilee River convey?  The channel was designed to carry 215 cumecs (cubic metres per second) but sub-standard design and construction has significantly reduced the capacity.  At only 2/3rds capacity in January 2003, the channel structures were severely damaged.

What about the hydraulic models?  The accuracy of the three hydraulic models was questioned at the 1992 Public Inquiry.  Here is the expert view of the Assessor P Ackers who stated 'It would be very embarrassing to all concerned if the intended discharge capacity of the FRC [Flood Relief Channel] was not achieved.'

How much did repairs to the Jubilee River cost?  About 5m, but the Environment Agency then sued the designers for sub-standard design and construction.  The parties reached an out-of-court settlement for 2.75m.

Who is responsible for the Jubilee River now?  The Environment Agency is responsible for main rivers, but they have no duty to maintain conveyance capacity.

Why don't you like the Environment Agency?  The EA are both dishonest and untrustworthy.  They will not admit their mistakes or rectify long standing problems.  They will not listen, they lack expertise and are unable to learn from their mistakes. They sit in their remote, warm, dry, safe offices thinking they know what's going on, and that things can be controlled by looking at a screen and pressing the buttons on a keyboard.  They still have a lot to learn!

What about Thames radioactivity?  Thames used for radioactive waste disposal for 50 years

What are Depressed River Mussels?  These are a recent Environment Agency excuse for not dredging the Thames.  Depressed relates to the 'aspect ratio' i.e. length to width.  Depressed River Mussels (Dec 2006)

Are all the problems now fixed?  Most of the Jubilee River structural problems that could be rectified have been attended to, but there are a large number of outstanding and unresolved structural, capacity, maintenance and operational issues that can be found here - The big problems still awaiting resolution

I have a problem with the Environment Agency - can you help?  How to contact me

What is the most recent flooding legislation? Flood Risk Regulations 2009 and Ewan's Guide and Flood & Water Management Act 2010