05:23AM, Tuesday 14 January 2014
The Environment Agency has hit back after village flood victims accused the rivers authority of being partly responsible for their plight.
Gillie Bolton, who lives on Ham Island and is its flood warden is convinced the Jubilee River - built at great expense to safeguard Maidenhead, Eton and Windsor - has diverted water downstream through the Royal Borough's villages of Old Windsor and Wraysbury.
She said: "People who have lived here 50 years say they have never seen anything like it. They are sure the Jubilee River has exacerbated our problems and this is not something that is not going to go away."
But Ash Dobson, speaking for the Environment Agency said: "The operation of the Jubilee River does not increase the flooding to communities downstream.
"This has been extensively investigated and modelled after concerns were raised in 2003. The scheme operates so that flood levels at Wraysbury, Datchet or any other location up or downstream of the protected area are not adversely affected."
He said almost double the normal rain levels fell in December and a month's worth in the first week of January and that the Jubilee River was fully operative by Wednesday last week, reducing the risk to 3,200 properties in Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton.
Windsor's MP Adam Afriyie who lives nearby and whose cellar was flooded, also wants some answers.
He said: "Residents want to understand what role the Jubilee River and its operation had to play in unfolding events, and I will be asking questions of the Environment Agency in due course.
"Having spent much of the weekend thigh deep in water on Ham Island and visiting flood-affected areas like Wraysbury, I was struck by the how hard local residents worked to help others.
"My thanks goes to the councillors, flood wardens and residents who turned out to help with sand bags and assist their neighbours – it made a huge difference to so many people."
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