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Tue October 27 2020

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Funding boost for Thames flood defence plans

23 Oct 19 Surrey County Council leaders are set to agree £270m of funding for flood protection work across the county.

Flooded Chertsey in 2014
Flooded Chertsey in 2014

The funding package includes a contribution to the £640m River Thames scheme, designed to reduce flood risk to 15,000 properties near the Thames.

The River Thames scheme represents the largest investment in flood risk in the UK to date. Surrey is one of seven local authorities working with the Environment Agency on the project. It has so far secured £404m of the required funding, including £308m government investment and £95m of further partnership funding. The Environment Agency and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead have also agreed contributions towards the scheme.

The River Thames scheme involves the construction of three flood alleviation channels alongside the River Thames and improved capacity at three weirs. It will run from Datchet in Berkshire, through Surrey to Teddington. The scheme will also support the creation of four country parks as well as 23km of footways and cycle paths.

However, there is still much work to do to get the project through planning and construction is unlikely to start before 2023 at the earliest, the Environement Agenmcy said.

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Surrey County Council is expected to sign off the funding decision on Tuesday 29th October. Council leader Tim Oliver said: “The floods in 2014 were devastating for Surrey and ever since then it’s been clear we need to do all we can to make sure our residents and their properties are protected from such risks in the future.”

Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan added: “The River Thames scheme is a vital project which will see thousands of homes, businesses and vital infrastructure better protected from flooding for decades to come.

“The huge scale of this project demonstrates what can be achieved when partners come together to achieve a common goal of helping to protect communities and boosting the local economy whilst also establishing a lasting green legacy for the area.”

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