Jubilee River 'at fault or not?

Jubilee River 'at fault or not?

Francis Batt

A flood warden who spent days travelling by boat on her island in Old Windsor as water rose around the houses has labelled the Jubilee River a 'fiasco' and a 'man-made disaster'.

Gillie Bolton, who lives on Ham Island, hit out at the Environment Agency (EA) this week because she is convinced the river - built to protect Windsor, Maidenhead and Eton - has diverted water downstream in the direction of Ham Island and Wraysbury.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister and Royal Borough council leader David Burbage she called for 'a Select Committee inquiry to look into this fiasco'.

"Thousands of properties downstream of the Jubilee River are being sacrificed to flooding again for the sake of keeping Maidenhead high and dry," she wrote.

"Maidenhead always flooded more than the downstream communities. Now at great expense the scales have been tipped the other way! Downstream flooding is now a man-made disaster enabled by the press of a button - not an act of God! How can the River Thames characteristics be altered for the benefit of some and the detriment of many others, as is now the case?"

EA spokesman Ash Dobson said investigations found there was no basis in the claim the river increases the risk of flooding to communities downstream.

"We have worked tirelessly throughout the duration of this incident to both warn people of the risks of flooding, and inform them about the situation as it has developed," he added.

But Windsor MP Adam Afriyie, who lives nearby and whose cellar was flooded, also wants some answers.

He tweeted in the aftermath of the flooding saying there were 'questions to ask' of the EA, and that he would be investigating how and why it happened.

He said: "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."

See letters page 20.

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