07:00AM, Thursday 08 January 2015
Progress has been made on protecting homes from floods, but the job is not done yet says Windsor MP Adam Afriyie.
His constituents in Datchet, Wraysbury and Old Windsor were left devastated when weeks of torrential rain caused the Thames to burst its banks in February, sending icy water sweeping into homes and businesses.
It also impacted on East Berkshire, with problems reported from Hurley to the Twyford area.
The scale of the flooding and relief effort made international news headlines.
The call from those devastated communities was for greater flood protection measures to be put in place.
Mr Afriyie said in February that victims needed 'more help and better organisation' from the Environment Agency (EA) and a year on he believes 'good progress' has been made.
The Conservative MP singled out the EA's proposed River Thames scheme which aims to build a new 17km flood channel, improve three weirs and flood-proof 1,200 front-line homes to guard them from water when the banks burst.
The Government says this will protect 15,000 properties between Datchet and Teddington, an area which it claims is the largest developed floodplain in England without any defences.
The build is expected to cost more than £250m.
No update has been given on whether all of the funding is in place or when the build would happen but Mr Afriyie did say the Government pledged 'a further £60m' to the scheme last month.
He also said £297m of grant aid has been allocated to projects in Thames Valley.
The 49-year-old, who says he will fight 'tooth and nail' for immediate progress, added: "We need to continue greater investment in flood defences and their management and avoid building homes in flood risk areas."
The Environment Agency says it has spent more than £3m on mitigation and flood relief in the Thames Valley and Surrey since last winter, with 10 repair projects completed.
That includes spending £70,000 on repairing a washed away section of the Thames bank at Black Potts Viaduct, near Eton.
Operations manager Barry Russell said: "Environment Agency teams will continue to inspect and repair defences over the coming months to ensure they are maintained and are ready to reduce the risk of flooding."
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