For several years I have pursued the authorities to do more to prevent and tackle flooding in our area. Local volunteers and some Councillors have also been active in seeking better response from the Environment Agency, the Water companies, Network Rail and the other main bodies involved in flood issue.

The recent row over the failure of the Environment Agency to dredge rivers and scour canals and ditches in the Somerset levels has revealed to wider public view that body of opinion in the Agency who oppose keeping river courses and other conduits clear. I have always encountered resistance to dredging or cleaning the Loddon, though it appears that the build of debris and silt particularly under and near Loddon Bridge is a contributory factor in the regular flooding of the A329 main Reading road , the cinema and related facilities.

In view of the new Prime Ministerial and Environment Secretary instructions to the Agency to do more to clear rivers and watercourses so they have the capacity to remove surplus water, I am writing again to the Agency concerning the Loddon.


  1. Antisthenes
    February 1, 2014

    Another prime example of letting eco-loons have total control without the restraining hand and input of less fanatical, more objective, rational and practical among us. We need eco-loons unfortunately but they should not be the sole arbiters on matters environmental. We need habitats that are both human and nature friendly and left to their own devises eco-loons give us plenty of the latter but none of the former.

  2. KS_Wokingham
    February 2, 2014

    River Loddon and its tributaries are a concern for all of us and not just for those living nearby. If we are not careful, we may soon see flood and traffic issues driving business away from the area (yes I do mean our own high IQ traffic planning bods). We have concerted our land to the extent Rivers cannot accommodate the surface water flow, breaching banks, almost making ourselves the “boat people”. Tone of this may sound extreme but that has been the recent reality to several businesses in the borough and to those living nearby river Loddon. Flooding is not a local issue that can be dealt by the District Authority alone. It requires coordination between Local authority, Highway, Drainage and Environment agencies. As for WDC, it has been sincere in its efforts to work out long-term strategy to the flood problem. Unfortunately government imposed housing growth plan with the demise of flood plain resulted in WDC having to revise strategy year on year. I must congratulate WDC for being very reactive in helping its residents affected by the flood and resolving local surface water flood issues. Unlike some other Boroughs nearby, it was a very pleasing experience that WDC reception took ownership of the problem with ticket reference, liaised with all parties, resolved the issues, put regular monitoring in place, and notes to the planners for long term resolve.
    As for the river Loddon which originates at Basingstoke and joins river Thames, its capacity has been exceeded many times over by extensive concreting of plains and drainage connecting to its tributaries both in Hampshire and Berkshire. We must either keep the water ways well maintained with the addition of flood basins or think of alternatives to ease the burden on river Loddon. Talking of maintenance, have you noticed the rusty dredging equipment Underneath the Lower Earley Way river-bridge near Sindlesham Mill. Speaking to those living nearby they were last used about five or more years ago. For me the Environment agency is a body justifying its existence merely by monitoring the river levels, with do little attitude to match its reduced funding. It need to be taken out of it drip feed bed to be more reactive and to bear its responsibility.
    Now that the command is coming from those in authority, I am sure you will demand for adequate maintenance of river Loddon to resume and hopefully we will see some change in EA’s attitude with regards to dredging and excavating additional flood basins.

  3. lojolondon
    February 2, 2014

    Go, John, blow this whole story sky high. If the government want someone to run the environment agency properly I will offer to do it and promise to spend £500m on clearing culverts and £20m on salaries!

  4. Jonathan
    February 5, 2014

    Do you have an opinion on the proposal to build a bridge across the Thames at the end of the A3290 to bypass Sonning and Reading bridges? Every time Sonning Bridge is closed due to flooding, and it is an increasingly regular occurance, it causes traffic chaos in Reading and along the A4 between Sonning and Woodley. I am aware that it is not in your constituency, but Wokingham residents who wish to travel north are affected by this.

    Reply Yes, I support a 3rd bridge, as do all Berkshire MPs. Oxfordshire remains resolutely against, so it is very unlikely to happen. The A329M is a local road, not part of the national highway network.

  5. simon ashton
    February 10, 2014

    Just saw Mr Redwood on the BBC “Daily Politics” Mr Redwood accused the Environment Agency of failing in its duties to dredge and clear debris from rivers, which he claims has contributed significantly toward the severity of flooding, as well as failing to tell planners of the risk of flooding to new build housing.

    Do constituents feel that Mr Redwood, knowing the dangers they faced, has done enough to protect their interests. Prior to the recent floods, did he contact Mr Smith of the EA directly? Has he brought this up with the requisite urgency with relevant ministers, The Prime Minister? Has he raised the matter in Parliament, in TV, Radio appearances. Has he written to the press of his concerns? As a Shadow Environment Minister, did he use his position to warn of the dangers and protect his constituents?

    Reply I have raised it many times in letters, meetings etc.

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