Follow up on flooding

I am pursuing the issues of whether the following actions would help reduce local flood risk. This includes asking the authorities what progress they have made on the possible projects beneath. I would be interested in local comment on what is needed.

 

  1. Bund water containment on flood plain by the Emm
  2. Emm deepening and widening of water course in Wokingham and Winnersh
  3. Dredging of River Loddon at Loddon Bridge
  4. Containment of Loddon with higher banks at Loddon bridge roundabout
  5. Raising of road at Loddon bridge roundabout
  6. Increased water retention capacity in safe areas in Shinfield and Arborfield
  7. Further measures around Emmbrook School
  8. Measure to contain water which currently can reach homes in Earley
  9. Larger measures being considered for the course of the Loddon more generally
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2 Comments

  1. aln jutson
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    RG41.

    So have the Environmental Agency agreed to any of these measures John, or are you floating a boat so to speak with ideas.?

    Given Wokingham Council is still granting planning permission for housing estates on flood plain areas, the natural water storage capacity for the area is surely being reduced year on year, not increased.

    From past comments the EA does not agree with widening or deepening of water causes, even though logic, mathematics and hundreds of years of dredging prove the opposite.

    Of course there is no point in dredging unless you do so to all restricted areas downstream from the problem site, otherwise you simply transfer the problems from one area to another

    Water science is very simple, it flows downhill taking the shortest route, and then finds its own level if a blockage occurs or the flow is restricted, then you get a build up of water behind that obstruction, until the containments are breached.

    I have looked in wonder as the housing site near the Winnersh Triangle roundabout (flood plain land) is being constructed with so called huge flood prevention methods and some raised roads.
    I guess the house builder has offered all sorts of guarantees to get planning permission, but what happens if those measures prove inadequate, or cause the water to move to another area which was not previously affected, were do residents stand insurance wise.

    It seems to me that the EA and Local Councils are simply refusing now to accept responsibility for keeping water courses (ditches, rivers, brooks, streams, flood plain area’s) clear, and that any annual maintenance is now at an absolute minimum.

    The local area flooding risk now seems to increase year on year, and whilst I am pleased you are concerned, the Local Authority and the EA do not really seem bothered.

    Your suggestions above are of course sensible, but local residents have had little success in the past in trying to lobby the Council and the EA to take some responsibility without much success.

    The last time I spoke to a member of the local EA team at a local meeting they said they had no money to do any local work, even though this organisation gets Hundreds of £Millions a year from the taxpayer.

    Perhaps you have more clout given your position, I hope so, otherwise many of your constituents will be getting more and more frustrated, and very angry if they are ever flooded.

  2. Phiala Mehring
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, thank you for pushing the issue of flooding in the Wokingham area. For those living at risk of flooding anything which can be done to help reduce their risk is very much appreciated.

    In response to the points you raise:
    1. Bund water containment on flood plain by the Emm
    Attenuating (holding the water in places which doesn’t present a flood risk) along the Emm Brook could help reduce flood risk for residents living in the catchment. I would be interested to learn more about the areas you had in mind as this proposal fits well with the approach of both Loddon Basin Flood Action Group and the Loddon Catchment Partnership (http://www.loddoncatchment.org.uk/).

    2. Emm deepening and widening of water course in Wokingham and Winnersh
    Many of the problems we have locally with flooding are manmade including past manipulation of the river (building in and around flood plains anyone?) and this type of work has on-going and often unexpected consequences. For example, deepening and widening the river would probably increase the flow rates (conveyance) of waters and increase bank erosion both of which could exacerbate the flooding problems.

    Deepening and widening the river would require a lot of maintenance to maintain the new profile and at the moment harsh financial constraints on the EA are such that more regular maintenance is proving difficult (as may locals will have found out). Holding back the flow (your example 1.) is possibly a better option than trying to contain waters within the banks of the Emm Brook.

    3. Dredging of River Loddon at Loddon Bridge
    Dredging the River Loddon at Loddon Bridge could exacerbate flooding downstream. There are already a number of properties which flood in Woodley and Charvil who would find that their flood risk increases as a result of dredging. We could be at risk of simply passing the problem of flooding to other areas in Wokingham and beyond.

    4. Containment of Loddon with higher banks at Loddon bridge roundabout
    As above. Had the Hatch Farm site not been developed it could have been used for attenuation (as suggested many years ago by residents) to help mitigate some of the problems in Lower Earley and Woodley. Ideally we should be seeking out others areas along the Loddon to ‘hold back the waters’.

    5. Raising of road at Loddon bridge roundabout
    At the moment the Loddon Bridge roundabout acts as rather inconvenient (to put it mildly) flood storage, so care is needed not to solve one problem (a wet junction) to create another (homes that flood). Could this option could be designed to not only solve the problem of this key junction flooding and all the chaos that ensues but also offer additional flood benefit to local homes that flood? There isn’t much dry open space in this area but there may be other means (underground storage which is pumped out after an event?) to help reduce flood risk.

    6. Increased water retention capacity in safe areas in Shinfield and Arborfield
    Yes please! I am concerned that we could easily get into the realms of expensive modelling and reporting for this type of attenuation, when a ‘no regrets’ approach might be more appropriate i.e. if we are holding back the water rather than passing the problem on to others there should be minimal risk. However, an expert opinion on this would be essential but not a detailed scoping report and analysis!

    As an additional note, there is a need for some baseline monitoring of the rivers within the catchment to enable the impact of any work like point 6, to be quantified.

    7. Further measures around Emmbrook School
    Holding back the waters elsewhere in the catchment and slowing the speed that water gets into the river in the first place would help the Emmbrook School. A much more holistic approach to flood risk is required, one that not only looks at the river but also aims to slow the speed that water enters the rivers. We need more permeable surfaces in our towns or changes to land management practice as examples to achieve this.

    8. Measure to contain water which currently can reach homes in Earley
    Again, yes please. See points 1. 6. And 7.

    9. Larger measures being considered for the course of the Loddon more generally
    The Loddon desperately needs a whole catchment view to managing flooding. If we can slow the speed that water gets into all the tributaries of the Loddon and the Loddon itself, slow the flow of the water once it is in the river, not build on flood plains/create additional flood plains, create attenuation areas, wet woodlands and take a very critical look at how much water comes out of our towns and villages and how this could be slowed down, then we could help reduce flood risk in our area.

    As an additional note, there is a desperate need for more funding to manage flood risk. Planning is also contributing to the problem with in appropriate development in areas which could have otherwise have been used increase water retention capacity (attenuation).

    Phiala, Loddon Basin Flood Action Group

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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