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The Jubilee River story - the dredging problem.

Extract from the - LTFRMS Consultation Response document (295kB.pdf)    Link to Jubilee River story - LTFRMS

Due to the difficulties and expense of removing and disposing of contaminated dredged material from the River it [dredging] has been set aside as an option under this Strategy.

Now dredging is a very sensitive issue with the Environment Agency and I will not waste too many words on the subject.

When this area flooded badly in 1947, the authorities put in place a procedure to improve Thames flood water conveyance capacity.  The specially designed dredgers, operators and disposal facilities were then used continuously until the Environment Agency took over from the National Rivers Authority in 1996.

After 1996 the EA discreetly and without consultation abandoned dredging, closed the disposal sites and sold or scrapped the dredgers.

The Thames is now suffering (like similar un-maintained watercourses) from the natural process of bed rise flooding.

Try putting bed rise flooding into Google and you will find this to be a very well known global problem. - so nothing new here!

In practice this means that the bed of the Thames is rising over time, thus the conveyance capacity is reducing and the probability of flooding is ever-increasing.

The problem is that nobody has a duty to maintain the flood water conveyance capacity of the Thames, and until somebody has a duty to maintain the Thames (and all the other main rivers) the problem will not go away - it will just get worse.

The Environment has run out of space for material dredged from the Thames.

The EA still has a duty to maintain navigation but now has problem disposing of navigational dredgings - The Penton Hook consultation (June 2010)

And now that Thames sediment is designated hazardous liquid waste (Thames used for radioactive waste disposal for 50 years) who is going to pay for disposal?  And what about the 'polluter pays' principle? The truth is that nobody wants to know!  Need I say any more?


Source documents: Environment Agency - Penton Hook Newsletter and plan (June 2010) - Penton Hook Newsletter (467kB.pdf)

For further understanding please see Penton Hook reach erosion/deposition drawings Penton Hook (824kB.pdf)

Also EA dredging document - Lower Thames Dredging Study - July 2009 (179kB.pdf)

Link to 9/9/08 - 'Channel maintenance' (Environment Agency briefing note)(129KB.jpg)

Link to 'Questions to the EA' -

Dredge the rivers (from thisisoxfordshire - Sunday 19th August 2007)

I attended the Flood Surgery at the Kings Centre organised by the Environment Agency after the third flood in seven years.

Every time you talk to these people all you get are excuses why they should not be doing anything.

Take the rivers and streams running through the western corridor.

Why can't they be maintained as they used to be? The Environment Agency tell you that dredging, widening and clearing these rivers and streams would have had very little effect on the July flooding. But what about 2000 and 2003 floods?

If these rivers and streams were properly maintained this latest floodwater would only have been a few inches instead of a few feet.

Another area that they need to look at urgently is the erosion of the banks of the Thames up stream from Oxford.

AW, Earl Street, Botley, Oxford


21 November 2010

Dear Environment Agency,

After the 1947 flood event the Thames was dredged continually until
the Environment Agency took over from the National Rivers Authority
in 1996.

How many purpose built dredgers worked upstream of Teddington prior
to 1996?

How many purpose built dredgers work upstream of Teddington now?

Yours faithfully,

Ewan Larcombe
67 Lawn Close
Datchet SL3 9LA