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The £302m Lower Thames Scheme proposal has re-appeared in Datchet again.  It was first tabled in 2009 under other names (LTFRMS and LTFAS)  This project was then mothballed due to national economic problems.  Serious flooding January and February 2014 resulted in the scheme being exhumed from the filing cabinet and renamed (yet again) - and now known as the Lower Thames Scheme.  The LTS proposal had a series of nine public events with the final being held in Datchet on 15/9/2015


Lower Thames Scheme (LTS) proposal comes to Datchet

By Francis Batt - Windsor Observer

BIG plans to protect the people of Datchet from a repeat of the flooding that engulfed their High Street last year were displayed in the Village Hall on Tuesday [15/9/2015]

The public exhibition featured diagrams and maps detailing the Environment Agency’s (EA) River Thames Scheme -– a 17km long flood channel, designed to protect Datchet and Wraysbury which both suffered appallingly last year.

The scheme would extend as far as Teddington, protecting Egham, Staines and Shepperton further down river. In February last year, more than 930 properties on this stretch of the river were flooded.

Among the visitors to the exhibition was Datchet parish councillor Ewan Larcombe, a highly vocal critic of the EA who makes no secret of his cynicism about the new scheme. He believes it would divert water which could end up flooding areas of London.

He is also of the belief, shared among some villagers in Datchet and Wraysbury, that the Jubilee River, the 11.6km long channel built at the turn of the century to safeguard Windsor and Eton, was partly responsible for the flooding that hit them so devastatingly last year.

Cllr Larcombe said: “The EA ought to be tackling the 100 blocked flood arches and dredging the river, which they refuse to do.  “The problem is that it only has legal responsibility to maintain the navigation on the river. The law needs to be changed so that it has to be take responsibility for the river’s upkeep.”

 David Murphy, programme director for the EA, insisted the proposed new scheme would play a vital role in the fight against flooding.

He said: “There are 15,000 homes and businesses at risk between Datchet and Teddington. This is about reducing the risk to them, not transferring it to another area.”

Mr Murphy added London would not be put at risk by the proposed new scheme because its own flood defences were robust enough to ensure this could not happen.

Datchet residents Adrian and Lesley Giddins were among the villagers who visited the exhibition. They share the belief that the Jubilee River contributed to the village’s problems last year.

Mr Giddins said: “We welcome another channel that might provide protection so we don’t get more water dumped on us.”

The scheme will cost around £300m with around £250m of funding already accounted for.

In January 2015, the seven local councils backing the scheme, including the Royal Borough, agreed to commit funding for the development of the scheme up to the point of construction.

The new channel would be created in three locations to alleviate the pressure on the River Thames and would also involve improving weirs further down river to cope with extra water.

The target date for work to start is 2020.

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