Councillor seeks to relocate his parishes into adjacent County.
Cllr. Ewan Larcombe (National Flood Prevention Party) has run out of patience with his Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead colleagues when it comes to flood defence. Firstly the Council has failed to secure full partnership funding for the RBWM portion of the Environment Agency’s £640m River Thames Scheme flood alleviation project which has put construction of the planned Channel 1 at risk. To make matters worse the Council (as lead local flood authority) has failed to improve the flow of the local drainage channels by removing the blockages.
Councillor Larcombe said ”Flood events can happen at any time of the year. We may be in the midst of a serious global health crisis but across the country main river flood defence planning, construction of new defences and the maintenance of existing flood assets simply carries on in difficult circumstances.
The Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton areas of the Unitary Authority benefitted from flood probability reduction about twenty years ago. The fully funded construction of the Jubilee River as part of the MWEFAS project allowed approaching River Thames flood water to be manually diverted at Maidenhead into a large by-pass channel through Buckinghamshire and then re-introduced downstream into the River Thames at Datchet. Although sub-standard in design and construction and unable even to convey its design capacity of 215 cumecs the Jubilee River has been successfully used many times to reduce the potential for flooding in the area that it was designed to protect.
Unfortunately by skirting the attenuating characteristics of the natural flood plain and using a new, shorter, smoother channel, the diverted flood water travels more quickly, arrives downstream earlier and rises to a higher level. Consequently the unprotected downstream villages already at high risk now suffer an ever-increasing probability of flooding due to climate change, uninhibited development and poorly maintained or blocked land drainage infrastructure. While the natural flood plain upstream (i.e. Windsor and Maidenhead) is kept dry, hundreds of families downstream are repeatedly evacuated from their homes – when all they ask for is the authorities to treat them equally.
Repeated assurances on RTS funding need to be replaced with prompt action. Not only has RBWM failed for years to arrange the partnership funding required for similar protection to the villages downstream but the ordinary watercourses that are an important and necessary feature of the land drainage infrastructure have been allowed to deteriorate to a state where they no longer perform their function. My Ward is on the extreme edge of the Borough and used to be in Buckinghamshire. Then we were moved into Berkshire so I don’t see a problem moving on into Surrey – subject to agreement of course.”
Councillor Larcombe is now examining the practicality of and support for relocating his Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury Ward out of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and into Surrey County.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Ewan Larcombe (69) has lived in the area since birth. The eldest of seven children he was first elected to Datchet Parish Council in 1986, to Wraysbury Parish Council in 2015 and to RBWM in 2019. He currently sits on all three.
Councillor Larcombe founded The National Flood Prevention Party in 2011.
Exposing authorities shirking their responsibilities is an NFPP description.
Cumecs = cubic metres of per second
Attenuation = the opposite of amplification
MWEFAS = Maidenhead, Windsor & Eton Flood Alleviation Scheme. The project went to Planning Inquiry at Reading in October 1992. As Chair at the time Cllr Larcombe gave evidence to the Inquiry on behalf of Datchet Parish Council.
RTS = River Thames Scheme – an Environment Agency flood alleviation project consisting of three new channels, one widened channel and some weir capacity improvements.
RTS Channel 1 – Planned route through Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury.
RBWM Partnership Funding contribution to RTS project > £50m
Ewan Larcombe Tel 01753 544302 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
27/4/2020 Mail online