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RTS & Partnership Funding Issues 29/9/2018
Report on Partnership Funding and the
River Thames Scheme
(with special reference to the Worsfold Report)
the RBWM Flood Meeting on 3/12/2018
I believe that
progress on the River Thames Scheme has been insignificant for the last year
and that this important project is falling ever further behind. My feeling
is that River Thames maintenance has been abandoned, the local population at
risk of flooding have not been kept informed and there is no ‘Plan B’. The
problem appears to be lack of partnership funding with a current funding gap
>£200m but I think the real cause is the inflexibility of Government
partnership funding policy when applied to a large infrastructure project
currently costed at £588m.
Last year Surrey
County Council were asked for a contribution of £103m. They pleaded poverty
and stated that the project should be fully funded from central funds.
Surrey CC also offered to borrow and then repay the loan if authorised to do
I wrote to my MP (Adam
Afriyie) who passed my concerns on to the Environment Agency.
The response via my MP
from Dr Theresa Coffey MP – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the
Environment – advised me to contact the RTS Project Manager ‘who will be
able to keep him [i.e. me] updated on the progress of this project’. I was
supplied with email contact details. The letter from Dr Coffey is shown in
Consequently I sent a
copy of the Dr Coffey letter to the Project Manager and listed my concerns.
I received a detailed
and prompt response from the RTS Project Manager on 4th September
for which I thank him. Relevant sections of the response are shown in App.
I invite you to read
the EA FCRM Maintenance Review - IUK Client Working Group – independent peer
review dated September 2014 by Mark Worsfold.
The House of Commons
Environmental Audit Committee published the 2014 review of the Government’s
Flood and Coastal Risk Management (FCRM) (the "Worsfold Review") in 2016.
The Worsfold Review
was commissioned by the Government following the flooding of winter 2013-14
and completed in September 2014 but was not made public until April 2016.
comments: Mary Creagh, Chair of the Committee said: "It has taken 18 months
and an intervention from my Committee to get this Review published and into
the public domain.
Worsfold’s Review showed that the condition of the Environment Agency’s
vital flood defence assets showed a worrying decline in 2014.
12. It raised
concerns that the Government’s partnership funding model for flood defences
could "distort economic delivery decisions or create delivery
afternoon we will be seeking clarification from Ministers about what action
they have taken following the Review."
The independent peer review was conducted by Mark Worsfold, Chief Engineer
at Ofwat. It looked at the maintenance of the EA’s flood and coastal risk
management (FCRM) assets.
15. The Review
compared and contrasted the asset management practices, policies and
procedures with those in place by the Water and Sewerage companies in
England and Wales. Based on this work the Review made 33 observations and
made 11 key recommendations.
16. The Review’s
main conclusion was that: "The management of flood defence assets is
primarily driven by asset condition, which does not help the Environment
Agency forecast service and expenditure requirements"
17. The Review
suggested that this has: "Highlighted the need to improve investment
planning processes and capabilities for modelling and predicting operating
and capital costs. Such costs should be examined on the basis of lowest
whole life cost and should start to be considered on a total expenditure
basis (whilst recognising that operating cost and capital costs may be both
defined and incentivised differently)."
18. The Review
also recommended the need for greater clarity over the Environment Agency’s
role in FCRM, better engagement between the Environment Agency and local
affected communities and also between the Environment Agency and the
government. All 11 of the recommendations can be found in appendix C of the
19. The Worsfold
Review may be located here:
App 1. – Letter from Dr Coffey MP
App 2. - From RTS Project Manager
Absolutely fine to keep you up to date with the funding position. The bottom
line position has not changed over the summer but are now ticking off a
number of options. This is really important I think as it enables us to
conclude funding initiatives and be clear on whether or not they will
After lots of conversations with insurance companies, we know that direct
investment via insurance companies is not feasible. We did look closely at
potential development from land removed from floodplain, but all of the
potential sites are in Greenbelt.
The two main things we are exploring still are synergies between RTS and the
Heathrow Southern Rail link being planned and RTS providing habitat offset
for any airport expansion. Obviously we want to conclude these discussions
as soon as possible, but plans for these initiatives are still evolving.