Hundreds of families and businesses across Runnymede and Weybridge will be delighted with the news today that DEFRA and HM Treasury have approved the outline business case for the River Thames Scheme. This paves the way for the next phase of work to begin, bringing us one step closer to delivering the vital flood protection that local residents need.
Floods Minister Rebecca Pow said:
As a vital part of the government’s record investment in flood risk management schemes across the country, the River Thames Scheme will provide better protection for thousands of properties, including many which suffered the devastation of flooding in 2014.
“In addition to providing £285m in funding, by treating the scheme as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project we aim to streamline the planning and authorisation process and ensure that communities along the river can get the protection they need as quickly as possible.
Dr Ben Spencer, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, said:
This is fantastic news! The River Thames Scheme is going ahead and residents will be delighted that the Government has agreed the outline business case and the detailed planning and public consultations can now begin.
This is a huge milestone for the project, but we must keep the momentum going and ensure all efforts are made to deliver the Scheme and the protection it provides as soon as possible. I will continue to work closely with DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Surrey County Council, our borough Councils and local residents to drive this forwards.
The River Thames Scheme will see two new flood relief channels constructed at Runnymede and Spelthorne, together with capacity increases at Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington weirs and the Desborough Cut. The scheme’s wider benefits will include new walking and cycle paths, parks and wildlife habitats.
Dr Ben Spencer, whose Runnymede and Weybridge constituency was severely affected by the 2014 floods, has promised to engage with residents throughout the planning and consultation phases to encourage as many residents as possible have their say and help shape the design and maximise the benefit to local communities.
Surrey County Council is supporting the scheme through the £270m Surrey Flood Alleviation Programme. Runnymede and Elmbridge Borough Councils are also delivery and financial partners. Further details about the Scheme and the next stages will be made available here: https://www.drbenspencer.org.uk/campaigns/river-thames-scheme.