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River Thames Scheme (Datchet to Teddington) – latest news

GBV Joint Venture issues

By Ewan Larcombe - 17 January 2015

Apparently the Environment Agency has appointed GBV (a Galliford Try and Black & Veatch joint venture) to assess the River Thames Scheme (CN - 11/12/2014 below).

In spite of being accused by the EA of being a 'vexatious complainant' I asked myself - are we about to repeat the mistakes of the past and make a bad situation worse – or can we take this opportunity for some honesty, openness and transparency and do the right job right?

Consequently I e-mailed Sir Philip Dilley (new Chairman of the EA Board) on 15/1/2015 in order to enlighten him with some history that he may be unaware of and I am now waiting patiently for a response.  This is what I said………..

Sir Philip

New Civil Engineer reported recently that a Galliford Try/Black & Veatch consortium had been awarded a Lower Thames Scheme contract.

Being relatively new to your position I am not sure whether you know that Black & Veatch took over Lewin Fryer and Partners soon after the Jubilee River (MWEFAS) failures of 2002/3 and before the £2.75m out-of-court settlement some years later for sub-standard design and construction.

Barbara Young actually attempted to hide the Jubilee River structural problems by deleting elements from the draft Board Meeting Agenda.

Furthermore Clive Onions (of Arup like yourself) conducted a year long investigation into the flooding and produced a series of recommendations in 2004 that have not been incorporated by the Environment Agency.

My offer to show you how your organisation is making Taplow Control Structure adjustments at midnight and manipulating the presentation of the web hydrographs in order to hide intensified downstream flooding remains open.

Maybe you could let me know please what action you intend to take?

The extract from Construction News is shown below:

CN - 11/12/2014

GBV appointed to 15,000 home flood risk plan

A Galliford Try and Black & Veatch joint venture has been appointed to an appraisal of flood risk for 15,000 homes.

The appraisal will assess all communities between Datchet and Teddington, where flood risk will be reduced by the River Thames Scheme.

Many of the areas affected by last winter’s floods will be assessed.

The contractors will determine feasibility, undertake outline design, and create a business case for the scheme.

“In recent years we have experienced some of the UK’s worst floods, and we expect the extreme weather which caused them will become more frequent. This makes the appraisal work a significant step in reducing risk to more communities along the Thames,” according to GBV director Matthew Nott.

Once funding is secured, a new flood channel running parallel to the River Thames between Windsor and Shepperton will be created.

In addition, the capacity of the weirs at Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington will be increased; and the Desborough Cut widened.

Mr Nott added: “To facilitate this, we will be undertaking outline design, and a diverse range of environmental, geotechnical, hydraulic and economic assessments; drawing upon experience gained on the Jubilee River, Olympic Park, and Thames Tideway projects.

(Extract from Construction News - 11 December, 2014 | By Tom Fitzpatrick)

Link to source:

If you would like to let Sir Philip know what is (or is not) happening in your area his e-mail address is