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Monday, 12 February 2024 10:17

The River Thames Scheme (RTS) and its impact on Lower Sunbury

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The RTS is a major engineering project by the Environment Agency and Surrey County Council to reduce the risk of flooding along the Thames between Egham and Teddington.

In addition to two new channels upstream of Walton, there will be additional weirs downstream, including a large one across Sunbury Lock Ait. This will inevitably damage the view from Kings Lawn.

The principal benefits of the RTS are reduced river levels upstream of Sunbury. These are estimated to be up to 90cm in the area of the two channels - but only 4-8cm downstream of Sunbury Lock. This is a minimal amount given recent river level increases.

The proposals include an “active travel” route between Egham Hythe and Walton, including two new bridges at Chertsey and Desborough Island. However this will be of little benefit to Sunbury residents because the continuation of the active travel route is the tow path on the Walton side of the river.

We believe that incorporating our proposed bridge at Sunbury into the project would provide Sunbury residents with a material benefit from the RTS and we will be lobbying hard for this. Without this benefit there is little, if anything, for Sunbury residents to gain from the RTS.

A “consultation event” is being held at the Hazelwood Centre on Monday 19th February, between 1pm and 7pm. We encourage anyone with an interest in this important subject to attend - and to let the promoters know your views on incorporating a Sunbury bridge and on the new weir.

To view our more detailed comments, click here.
 
To view the RTS Consultation website:

https://www.riverthamesscheme.org.uk/consultation

3 comments

  • Comment Link John Douglass Tuesday, 27 February 2024 15:13 posted by John Douglass

    The River Thames Scheme is missing the point.

    Restore, maintain and improve the existing drainage catchment BEFORE the construction of the new RTS Channels
    Whether you agree or disagree with the new planned River Thames Scheme (RTS) surely it makes sense to make the best of what we already have?
    Wraysbury and Datchet badly need the Wraysbury Drain restored. There is sewage and impurities being discharged into the streams and rivers. Restoration and dredging have ceased. There is flooding to local businesses and homes due to poor urban drainage and no ongoing maintenance.
    Reading the RTS feedback form there is much being made of the construction of the new channels and the benefits in terms of biodiversity and recreational facilities for the community, for example provision of biodiversity, play areas, motorboat hire and showering facilities (all listed as options amongst others within the RTS scheme literature), but no mention of the maintenance and restoration of the existing infrastructure which comprises the many small rivers, drains and ditches of the Thames Valley. A comprehensive study would also surely reveal potential improvements for example installation of underground pipes to improve drainage at strategic points.
    Restoration and improvements to what is already in place can deliver improvements to flood resilience far quicker than the construction of the new channel and because the existing channels are distributed across the many small water courses the risks of flood and damage associated with a single point of failure at the RTS scheme channel exit are greatly reduced.
    Why is this not a priority for the RTS scheme?
    It may be argued that the Environment Agency is responsible only for fluvial flooding and Surrey County Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority responsible for surface water and groundwater drainage, so the parcel passes between the two.
    But SCC is a partner and main contributor to the RTS scheme using our ratepayers’ funds; they are both sat round the same table! So why can’t a coherent scheme be drawn up to accommodate both the catchment drainage and the RTS scheme in one plan, with a suitable schedule to deliver the most immediate results. SCC also has the necessary statutory powers to issue enforcements to landowners to clear ditches where appropriate.
    There is another scheme being drawn up called the “Thames Valley Flood Scheme” (TVFS) it is in the early stages of development but include objectives such as:
    1/ Improved urban drainage
    2/ Flood water transfer
    3/ River restoration
    4/ River deepening and widening.
    Very much in line with what I am proposing. So why can’t the relevant objectives of the TVFS be incorporated into the RTS scheme? If there is funding for wetlands, play areas and motorboat hire then then there is funding for improvements to the catchment drainage and hence improvements to flood resilience.
    There is a public consultation in place at present which closes on the 4th March at midnight. If you share my view that the maintenance, restoration and improvement of the existing river and drainage system is more important than provision of biodiversity, play areas, motorboat hire and showering facilities (all listed as options amongst others within the RTS scheme literature) then fill in the RTS feeback form (available online at https://www.riverthamesscheme.org.uk/consultation)
    Before the deadline of 4th March midnight and let you views be known.

  • Comment Link Michael Fuller Tuesday, 20 February 2024 10:28 posted by Michael Fuller

    They should dredge the river to increase capacity. Unfortunately the EU banned dredging and our dredger was scrapped.

  • Comment Link Oliver Parr Wednesday, 14 February 2024 10:20 posted by Oliver Parr

    I went along to the Teddington RTS event yesterday - well attended by both locals and RTS staff. A common theme among locals was that there is little benefit for Teddington residents from the proposals. Indeed the RTS people had to agree!

    An interesting observation was that people travel all the way from Teddington to the Ferris Meadow Lake for open water swimming - where the water quality will now be threatened. I wonder how many Sunbury residents do the same…

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