Email to Environment Agency about local flooding

This is the text of my reply to the latest report I have received from the Environment Agency about local flooding. I have also written to the Chairman of the Agency  seeking more action:

 

Thank you for your email. Of course I, and many of my constituents are vigilant, and are well aware of the floods to date and the risk of more floods. What we want is for  the Agency to do something to give our area greater resilience against floods when it rains. This is not a unique or one off event. Floods are now a regular part of our daily lives in the Thames Valley.

 

In my constituency yet again the main road the A 327 into Reading was closed. Sindlesham Mill road was closed. Many back roads through low lying country areas are flooded. Loddon Bridge roundabout is experiencing another build up of water. Homes in low lying areas are now badly affected in some cases, and at risk in others.

I have been asking for years for the Agency to take the following actions

 

  1. Dredge the Loddon to create more capacity to take water away
  2. Clear and maintain the many ditches, culverts and smaller water courses that feed into the rivers.
  3. Work with the Highways Authority about clearing surface water from roads
  4. Install water retention areas behind bunds for the Emm to handle excess water run off
  5. Work with the Water companies over sewer outfalls, pumping and waste water disposal
  6. To offer strong advice against any further building on floodplain unless accompanied by plans to manage water in a way which reduces rather than increases the risk of flooding.

 

When is the Agency going to start doing some of these things? Do you now have an action plan?  Where does our share of the our £1200 million a year budget go? I look  forward to a proper reply.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

John Redwood

 

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6 Comments

  1. KS-Wokingham
    Posted February 8, 2014 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood,
    EA was/is very weak and bullied in to submission with respect to Hatch Farm development in Lower Earley. In view of the recent flooding, can the plan be suspended to address point 6 above.
    In my view, when flood plains are killed off for housing development, the developer should bear all responsibility to safeguard the resident in that area. EA should demand the developer to bear the cost of all flood defences, cost of preservation and protection of the environment for all of its cohabitants and those impacted further down the stream.
    As this was not the case with proposed Hatch Farm dairies development plan, would it be possible to suspend the development plan for reassessment.

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      KS-Wokingham

      So when the developer goes bust, who looks after the residents then ?

      No, the fault is with allowing planning permission in the first place.
      Thus it is a local Authority responsibility, as it is they who gave permission for any development in the first place.

      Local Authorities often complain that National Government forces them to grant certain applications.
      The solution is then simple, have the courage to say no, ask to transfer responsibility to central Government, if they refuse to underwrite it, then the Local Authority should have every right to appeal the decision.

      The problem would appear to be with big brother, not the builder who has to comply with planning permission, building regulations, and needs to satisfy highways, and the water companies after completing a land survey (all part of the planning process) !

      • KS-Wokingham
        Posted February 13, 2014 at 3:09 am | Permalink

        Alan, If the builders can not afford, they should keep away from building over flood plains – simpler than going bust. Why submitting and resubmitting applications when they been told no in the 1st instance by every one. I am not objecting to building likes of Keephatch area or London Road, as it happening now (and seen lots of that over 40 years) . These are plains that can be built up on with lesser impact – with careful planning for eco system and surface water flooding. I am objecting to building over the flood plains without adequate flood protections. Current regulations are inadequate, hence building over flood plains continues and builders getaway with meeting the minimum requirement as a consequence (this is my point and yours too). What went on with Hatchfarm saga is interesting, boxes were ticked with meeting the minimum. Sadly I have very little data to blame WDC for what went on with Hatchfarm housing development.
        Good news is, as a consequence of severe flooding this year, we are going to do some good thinking as a nation to better protect our Lands and homes.

        • alan jutson
          Posted February 17, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

          KS-Wokingham

          I agree with you entirely about not allowing building on “Known Flood Plains”.

          The only difference we have, is who should be responsible should it ever happen.

          I firmly believe that it is the Local Authority, because they are the ones with the power to always say NO.
          No matter how many times they have to say it !.

          The Local Authorities have, or at least should have, more local knowledge than any builder with regard to the overall picture and inter relationship with one area of land on another.
          If they are not happy with arrangements put forward, then the answer should always be No.

          Our problem arises when outsiders are bought in like Appeal Inspectors, or central government politicians and their pet polices, who may then overule the Local Authority.

          Builders go out of business for many reasons, even owner retirement, they do not always go bust.
          So in my view they are not the best people to hold to long term account.

          If a local Authority approves plans put forward, then it simply has to accept responsibility for its guidelines, which will then have been met by the builder.

  2. alan jutson
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I hope you get a sensible answer John, but more important, then some action to resolve the problems you outline.

  3. Phiala Mehring
    Posted February 9, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    This is exactly what we need: a coordinated response to flood risk management. What we have witnessed during the current flooding episode has been a reactive response predicated on only solving the current problems. As the waters subside we need to see a coordinated and pre-emptive strike on managing flood risk. And stronger advice on building in and around flood plains is an exceedingly good start. Thank you for pushing for this.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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