EA WILLING TO INCREASE FLOODING RISK IN BERKSHIRE THAMES TO SAVE BUCKINGHAMSHIRE - WHY?

Elvira Viano made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Environment Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I reply to a letter from Doug Hill [Team Leader, Asset Systems Management, Thames Wey and Loddon] under FOI dated 8/10/09 to a reply dated 8/9/09.

Many riverside residents have little confidence in the many complex surveys you sent Mr Hill remembering that your own organisation [as reported in New Civil Engineer] actually successfully sued the company who drew up for plans for the Jubilee River Flood Alleviation Scheme designed to save Maidenhead. A project which all communities upstream and downstream of Maidenhead unite in citing as a major cause of severe flooding in their communities in the first year it became operational.

These reports blind us with science whereas we riverside residents live alongside the river and are well placed to observe changes often over many decades.

There does seem though to be a glaring problem with your deposition survey. A huge area of the river below Marlow Weir is shown as white which is probably because it is shallower. This is something I clearly demonstrated to you in my letter of September 8th which cited the fact that the sewerage barge could no longer empty cesspits on Lock Island because of the sandbars on this reach. These continue right down the Berkshire side of the river and have formed because you no longer dredge, as Thames Conservancy did regularly since 1947.

I can send you this map with the white areas coloured pink if it helps you since this clearly illustrates that if the rest of the river has been scoured then this may be more than offset by the shallows in the Marlow Weir reach and on down the river towards Cookham. From the map you sent it would seem that you apparently omitted to survey these shallows.

THE NUB OF THE QUESTION -

We are frankly amazed that in your letter you advise that 'there are 287 houses in Marlow which you plan to provide flood protection too up to the 1 in a 100 year flood event'. Yet in the same letter you advise that, on the facing bank in Berkshire you estimate there are '126 properties in Temple and Bisham which are at risk of flooding during a 1 in 100 year flood event'.

You a/ seem to have no plan to protect them and b/ seem prepared to spend millions of £'s on a scheme which many consider will increase the risk to these communities on the facing bank.

And you do not address the point I made which is that it is not just the number of houses it is the number of people which should be taken into the equation too.

For the rescue organisations this is a vital consideration. On the Berkshire side you make no mention of the fact that you have probably counted as 'one property' The Compleat Angler Hotel, The National Sports Centre at Bisham Abbey and The Longridge Sports Centre which you have currently supported in its recent planning application to enlarge.

Nor do you make any reference to the antiquated sewers which spill their contents when ground water rises on the Berkshire side across roads, fields, gardens and back into the river.

A meeting in London today hosted by the Academy of Engineering and supported by the Environment Agency in Wales will review the increasing likelihood of strong intense storms which pour vast quantities of water into the rivers exceptionally quickly. They state that in the UK catchment drains cannot cope and it is recommended that these drainage systems need to be significantly deeper.

Many rivers, including the Thames, are indeed vast land drains the conference will be told and delegates will hear that they too need to be significantly deeper.

You have allowed the Thames to silt up after nearly 60 years of regular dredging and maintenance.
Why?

In summary the questions asked on September 9th were ;

Who authorised that the dredging/maintenance programme started in 1947 following the re-profiling of the River Thames be abandoned? On what grounds?

Please send the report detailing the impact on the river and surrounding areas now that it is more than a decade since any dredging was done and provide evidence which shows that this work is no longer necessary

Please confirm on what evidence you make the statement that 'in our judgement sandbars do not increase the risk of flooding'

Please send risk assessment and impact data for Marlow/Temple and Bisham which shows conclusively that any work done of the Marlow, Bucks side of the river will not in any way increase the risk of flooding on the opposite Berkshire bank

So why is the Environment Agency prepared to potentially sacrifice properties in Temple and Bisham, which contain many ancient houses, for the sake of a new estate of houses built in river meadows in the 1970's against all local advice? Why is it prepared to spend millions of £'s of tax payers money on unproven flood alleviation schemes before undertaking prudent actions like regular maintenance on ditches and the silted river bed itself so that the Thames can do the job it is there for, be an effective land drain from source to sea?

Yours faithfully,

Elvira Viano

Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

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But my e-mail refers to an Environmental Incident, won't it get answered
sooner?

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Edwards, Marie, Environment Agency

1 Atodiad

Please see attached our acknowledgement of your request.

Marie Edwards

External Relations Officer

Tel 01276 454427

E-mail [1][email address]

P Did you know - spray taps can reduce water use by 60 - 70% compared with
conventional taps

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Dear Edwards, Marie,

I look forward to a reply shortly. In the meantime is it possible to see the full speech made by Lord Smith at the recent meeting organised by the Royal Academy of Engineering and to have the EA view on the recommendations made - ie that if Britain is to expect frequent Monsoon style storms, which Lord Smith makes reference too, that we should be building deep open drainage ditches beside roads.

Does not the EA think that re-profiling and maintaining the depth of their existing land drains [ie the River Thames] is not therefore vital as a first action?

Yours sincerely, Elvira Viano

Edwards, Marie, Environment Agency

I will be out of the Office until Monday 26 October 2009 . Any urgent
enquiry should be sent to [email address]

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Dear Edwards, Marie,

You have not answered my questions within the legal timelines. Can you give a reason for this? Also at a public meeting on October 21st Mr Hill of the EA was asked the cost of re profiling the Cookham Reach on the River Thames to get rid of the many shallows and sandbars and allow the river to flow fast and deep as it used to. He did not have these figures and advised he would have them in the next few days. No one has seen them. In view of the fact that the failed Jubilee River caused widespread flooding for the first time in 50 years above and below it we are amazed to see that the EA is considering spending £300m of tax payers money on building three new channels before undertaking the most basic of options - getting rid of the shoals and sandbars which have been allowed to form thus rendering the Thames unable to carry water away fast and deep as it used to after it was re profiled in 1947 backed up by an ongoing dredging programme.

Yours sincerely,

Elvira Viano

Thames SE, Customer Contact, Environment Agency

Dear Elvira

A response will be sent to you today. The information we are sending should cover your original request of 13th October & the subsequent request made on 21st October and today.

Yours Sincerely
External Relations
Thames SE Area

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Biggs, Irene, Environment Agency

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    Elvira Viano Response.zip

    6.1M Download

Dear Elvira Viano,

Thios response has been returned as the size of the attachments are too
large for our system to send, it is therefore now being sent in separate
e-mails, our server unfortunately has a limit on the amount of data it can
send.

This is the first e-mail

Dear Elvira Viano,

Re: EA willing to increase Flooding Risk in Berkshire Thames to Save
Buckinghamshire -Why

Please find attached the response to your enquiry relating to the above,
also attached is the following:

Survey Comparison PDF
Survey Marlow Apr 2008 PDF
Survey Marlow Mar 2003 PDF
Survey Marlow Nov 1999 PDF
Lord Smith speech made to Insurance Institute of London

The Royal Academy of Engineers [1]issued a report referring to the
likelihood of increased occurrences of tropical monsoon type weather and
(perhaps unsurprisingly) the need to undertake more engineering to
mitigate the effects.

link to this report:

[2]http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/shownews.ht...

This publication coincided with our Chairman [3]delivering a speech to
Insurance Institute of London which also referred to the impacts of
climate change. Attached as PDF file.

The two were pulled together in a single [4]Telegraph article which
received much attention.

link to this article:

[5]http://www.telegraph-co.uk/earth/earthne...

Yours sincerely.

External Relations Department
Swift House Frimley Business Park Frimley GU16 7SQ
Tel: 08456 500 500
e-mail: [6][email address]

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http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/shownews.ht...
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http://intranet.ea.gov/static/documents/...
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http://www.telegraph-co.uk/earth/earthne...
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mailto:[email address]
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Biggs, Irene, Environment Agency

1 Atodiad

  • Attachment

    Elvira Viano Response.zip

    6.8M Download

Dear Elvira Viano,

This is the second

Re: EA willing to increase Flooding Risk in Berkshire Thames to Save
Buckinghamshire -Why

Please find attached the response to your enquiry relating to the above,
also attached is the following:

Survey Comparison PDF
Survey Marlow Apr 2008 PDF
Survey Marlow Mar 2003 PDF
Survey Marlow Nov 1999 PDF
Lord Smith speech made to Insurance Institute of London

The Royal Academy of Engineers [1]issued a report referring to the
likelihood of increased occurrences of tropical monsoon type weather and
(perhaps unsurprisingly) the need to undertake more engineering to
mitigate the effects.

link to this report:

[2]http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/shownews.ht...

This publication coincided with our Chairman [3]delivering a speech to
Insurance Institute of London which also referred to the impacts of
climate change. Attached as PDF file.

The two were pulled together in a single [4]Telegraph article which
received much attention.

link to this article:

[5]http://www.telegraph-co.uk/earth/earthne...

Yours sincerely.

External Relations Department
Swift House Frimley Business Park Frimley GU16 7SQ
Tel: 08456 500 500
e-mail: [6][email address]

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
privileged. If you have received this message by mistake, please notify
the sender immediately, delete it and do not copy it to anyone else.

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Environment Agency address may also be accessed by someone other than the
sender or recipient, for business purposes.

If we have sent you information and you wish to use it please read our
terms and conditions which you can get by calling us on 08708 506 506.
Find out more about the Environment Agency at
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References

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http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/releases/sh...
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http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/shownews.ht...
3. http://intranet.ea.gov/static/documents/...
http://intranet.ea.gov/static/documents/...
4. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthne...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthne...
5. http://www.telegraph-co.uk/earth/earthne...
http://www.telegraph-co.uk/earth/earthne...
6. mailto:[email address]
mailto:[email address]
7. http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Environment Agency's handling of my FOI request 'EA WILLING TO INCREASE FLOODING RISK IN BERKSHIRE THAMES TO SAVE BUCKINGHAMSHIR' You have simply forwarded me many generalised documents. People living on the Cookham Reach of the River Thames want specific answers to the specific questions which were raised in the letter. You do not answer these questions and answers are urgently required particularly since you have lodged a planning application with Wycombe District Council and just seem to be playing for time.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ea...

Yours faithfully,

Elvira Viano

Enquiries, Unit, Environment Agency

Thank you for contacting the Environment Agency. Please see below
regarding our response times and environmental incident reporting

You can expect to receive a reply from us within 10 working days for any
general enquiry. Please note that bank holiday days and weekends are not
classed as a working day.

If your enquiry refers to a Simple Exemptions application you can expect
to receive a response within 25 working days.

The Customer Charter (response days) for all enquiries start from the next
working day of you receiving this auto reply from us. For example an
e-mail's customer charter sent to us on a Friday will start on the
following Monday providing this isn't a bank holiday.

For further information on our Customer Charter please see

[1]http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/abo...

But my e-mail refers to an Environmental Incident, won't it get answered
sooner?

If you wish to report an incident i.e. pollution, fish in distress,
dumping of hazardous waste, etc please do not use this e-mail service
instead please call our free-phone 24 hour Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70
60. For more details about incident reporting please see:

[2]http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/con...

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sender or recipient, for business purposes.

If we have sent you information and you wish to use it please read our
terms and conditions which you can get by calling us on 08708 506 506.
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[3]www.environment-agency.gov.uk

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Symonds, Ann, Environment Agency

2 Atodiad

Dear Ms Viano

Please see attached correspondence.

Regards

Ann Symonds
Planning and Corporate Services Manager
Environment Agency SE Thames

Tel: 01276 454336
Email: [email address]

Information in this message may be confidential and may be legally
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If we have sent you information and you wish to use it please read our
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Gadawodd Ian Salisbury anodiad ()

For further background information, the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today Programme on Wednesday 9 December 2009 contained an interview with Mr Phil Rothwell, Head of Flood Strategy at the Environment Agency. Here it on "Listen Again" at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00...

Gadawodd robin ford anodiad ()

Well worth reading in light of subsequent events.