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MEP lobbies local councils to provide ‘match’ funding for River Thames Scheme

December 21, 2014 2:55 PM

The River Thames Scheme is designed to protect 15,000 homes on the flood plain from Datchet to Teddington from risk of further flooding.

In his Autumn Statement Chancellor George Osborne announced an extra £60 million of funding for the £302 million River Thames Scheme.

The total amount left for councils to provide was £142 million, however the Thames regional Flood and Coastal Committee have already pledged £29 million and Surrey County Council have added a further £1.5 million. Deducting these and the extra £60 million brings local government contribution to an estimated £51.4 million.

Liberal Democrat Euro-MP has met with local residents and members of Thames Awash, a local flooding group to discuss the scheme.

Mrs Bearder has now written to all seven councils concerned, urging them to stump up the funds.

She commented: "I realise the severe financial strain local councils are under but they simply cannot afford to miss this opportunity provided by central government and ignore this issue any longer.

"Having met people affected by the recent floods I have seen first-hand the huge emotional and financial strain flooding has on people and local councils must not leave their constituents fearful every time storm clouds gather.

"Local councils must urgently work together to develop funding plans to ensure they have payment in place.

Thames Awash Chairman Chris Bertram commented: "Planning for the RTS was underway when thousands were flooded in 2003 and since then the scheme has barely progressed.

"Local councils need to safeguard their residents, businesses and infrastructure by adding to central government funding now so the scheme can progress immediately."

Old Windsor resident Gillie Bolton who was flooded out of her home added: "We have lost our beautiful home we worked so hard for and so have others. Our lives will never be the same again.

"David Cameron said at the height of the floods 'money is no object' but the lack of it has cost us our home and quality of life.

"Local councils must listen to us and find and find the remaining funds to ensure no one else suffers the grief and heartbreak so many of us are still experiencing today."

Catherine Bearder has contacted Runnymede, Spelthorne, Windsor & Maidenhead, Elmbridge, Kingston, Richmond and Surrey councils.