It’s excellent news that the River Thames Scheme (RTS), a long-term plan to protect local communities from flooding, has moved one step closer to being built. The Treasury has approved the Outline Business Case for the scheme, meaning that it can now begin to look at securing planning permission.
As local residents know, flooding has long been a serious problem for Elmbridge communities near the River Thames, such as Walton and Molesey. Indeed, the wider area between Egham and Teddington is the largest undefended, developed floodplain in England. The last serious flood was in 2014, and the risk is increasing due to climate change.
The RTS will reduce this risk by building a new flood channel in two sections, at Spelthorne and Runnymede. Crucially for Elmbridge, the scheme will also increase the capacity of the Sunbury and Molesey weirs, and of the Desborough Cut in Walton.
This work will reduce flood risk for over 600 homes in Elmbridge, and more than 11,000 homes and 1,600 businesses overall. This decision is a welcome step towards this, and I will continue to closely follow progress.
More information about the scheme, including a useful map of the proposals, is available on the Environment Agency website here.
(Pictured above – at the river with then-Surrey Councillor Peter Szanto)