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Surrey County Council £100m contribution to the River Thames Scheme –

Or maybe not!

 

Surrey County Council is about to consider the recommendations of a report as follows:

 

It is recommended that the Leader of the council writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for Department of Communities & Local Government and Secretary of State for Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, stating that:

a) Because of the scale of the River Thames Scheme and the potential economic impacts at risk if it does not proceed, this is a nationally significant scheme and it is not appropriate to apply Defra’s FDGiA* Partnership Funding model to it.

b) Surrey County Council has no capital reserves to meet Surrey’s local contribution for the River Thames Scheme as requested by the Environment Agency, and requests that Central Government provide the capital required for the scheme.

c) Should Central Government not provide the capital required for the scheme upfront, then Surrey County Council would be willing to take out a loan to pay Surrey’s local contribution for the River Thames Scheme (at a cost of approximately £4.5m per year for 40 years) subject to Central Government funding the annual costs of borrowing.

(*FDGiA = Flood Defence Grant in Aid)

The Environment Agency has already spent an enormous amount of public money developing this project. 

My concerns are:

Firstly that SCC has waited until now to plead poverty despite continuous involvement in the project since conception and

Secondly that there is no independent technical assessment of the project.

The first SCC meeting at which the above recommendations will be considered is the Cabinet Meeting on 31/10/2017 (item 9 on the agenda)

The Cabinet Meeting Agenda may be found here:

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=120&MId=5111

The full report can be found here:

Funding Options for Future Flood Alleviation Work in Surrey pdf icon PDF 311 KB 

or

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/documents/s41171/item%2009%20-%20FINAL%20Flooding%20Cabinet%20report.pdf

There are seven additional supporting documents that may be accessed via the Agenda.

Ewan Larcombe

END

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