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The Jubilee River story - Letter to Lord Deben - November 2010
From: Ewan Larcombe, 67 Lawn Close, Datchet, Berks SL3 9LA
To: Lord Deben, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW
You may remember that in 1995 as Secretary of State for the Environment you were involved with Michael Howard (then Home Secretary) in permitting the construction of the Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton Flood Alleviation Scheme.
You may not be aware that the project was completed in 2002 at a cost of about £110m and then renamed the Jubilee River.
On first use at only 2/3rds capacity in January 2003 some 500 homes in Maidenhead were saved from flooding, but also hundreds of households downstream of Windsor were affected by flooding for the first time since 1947.
Almost every structure on the Jubilee River was damaged, incurring some £5m in repair costs and followed by a £2.75m out-of-court settlement with the designers for sub-standard design and construction.
Eight years on and repairs are incomplete, the channel is unable to carry its design capacity and is continually polluted with dangerous algae.
The Environment Agency ceased Thames dredging for flood defence purposes without consultation, and now nobody has a duty to ensure the conveyance capacity of main rivers. Nobody accepts responsibility for this fiasco and local people are now left with an ever-increasing probability of flooding and inequitable (and maybe even unaffordable or unobtainable) household insurance premium and excess costs.
I am not asking you to do anything, but just feel that you ought to be aware of what really happened here.
Copy: Lord Howard