VOICES SOUGHT TO END FLOODING
(5 July 2003)
floods caught many unawares and caused unprecedented damage to many
riverside properties, a number of which are still uninhabitable. Local
houses and roads were flooded for the first time ever, major roads were
closed, communities isolated: this, just as the Jubilee River was opened,
ostensibly to relieve pressure above Maidenhead. These issues have often
been debated locally, sometimes with great emotion, but so far nothing
conclusive has emerged in terms of why this situation came about, who was
accountable or indeed will it happen again.
On July 1st
TUG (The Upstream Group) held a public meeting at Pinder Hall. Attended by
around 50 local residents with a range of concerns, plus the local press,
the meeting was held to attract new members to provide much needed funds
for research into the flooding problem.
TUG has been formed directly as a result of the flooding to represent householders from Cookham, Bourne End, Marlow and Hurley. Via the recently created Flood Risk Action Group (FRAG), which has been initiated and sponsored by the Environment Agency, the group will form a working relationship with the appropriate public bodies and will provide the vital link between its members and the appropriate authorities and intends to lobby for improvements in river management and maintenance procedures.
TUG will draw together
the principal issues concerning the local community and with the advice of
independently commissioned experts, will seek to influence the
authorities’ plans in the following ways:
– seek to influence the Environment Agency’s strategy for future river
and flood plain management in order to prevent the sudden surge in water
levels that contributed to the floods during 3rd/4th Jan 2003.
evidence from the Environment Agency to show the 2003 rainfalls were
exceptional and seek to ensure that the Environment Agency’s
Environmental Risk Assessments (used by home insurers and purchasers’
solicitors) will substantiate improved flood controls and a low risk of
– identify the Environment Agency’s trigger thresholds for rainfall
and water levels upon which the EA will raise easily accessible and
accurate 24hr information forecasts and alert warnings specific to TUG’s
– encourage the authorities to act jointly to ensure that all
watercourses are properly maintained.
identify and promote the need for capital improvement schemes to minimise
the frequency of floods.
persuade the authorities to exercise greater powers to prevent development
on the flood plains.
An extensive recruitment
program is underway with the aim of achieving a membership of at least 400
households, each providing donations, to enable TUG to fund its
professional engineering appointments.
Over 80% of donations
received from membership subscriptions will be committed to research and
analysis. TUG have already appointed a local firm of engineers to obtain
research data from the Environment Agency and TUG is now in the process of
appointing a firm of expert hydrologists to analyse this data and examine
various river management strategies. With a seat on the local Community
Support Group (CSG) already confirmed, TUG intends to become the principal
flood representative for our community.
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