Agenda and minutes
Venue: Ascot and Bray - Town Hall. View directions
Contact: Wendy Binmore 01628 796 251
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor John Lenton and Parish Councillor David Burfitt.
To confirm the Part I minutes of the previous meeting.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 2 October 2017 be approved.
Update from the Environment Agency
To receive an update from the Environment Agency including
Ø Eton Wick Waterways Group: proposed environmental enhancements Roundmoor Ditch.
Ø Strategic Review of Charges: the Environment Agency is currently consulting on changes to its charging schemes (covering the majority of their regulated regimes). The consultation can be reviewed via the following link https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/engagement/environmentagency-charging-proposals-fromapril2018
Ø Prolonged dry weather update
Members noted the following main points of the Environment Agency (EA) update:
Ø Eton Wick Waterways Group were proposing works on Roundmoor Ditch.
Ø There had been a blanket discharge from Slough water treatment works so there was some discussion ongoing regarding that with Thames Water (TW), EA and other local parties.
Ø Strategic review charges consultation was taking place and ended at the end of the week. The aim of the review was to ensure the charges were fair and transparent. The changes also looked at navigation licences and the changes would be implemented later on in 208.
Ø With regards to dry weather; winter 2017/18 was the driest since 2010/11. The beginning of 2018 had been drier than usual with rivers responding as expected. Some areas were on drought status.
The Chairman queries if the charges review would include new charges or, if it would be raising the costs of current activities. The EA confirmed that there would could in an increase in charges depending on the type of activity. The EA added that mooring licences would not be covered by the review but, any works that related to flood risk activity would require a permit, which would incur a charge.
With regards to the discharge at Slough treatment works, the Environment Management Team were having a meeting with TW to establish if it was an accidental or intentional so there was no update at present. An update would be provided at the following meeting.
v Action – Thames Water and the Environment Agency to bring update on the discharge from Slough water treatment works to the next meeting.
Parish Councillor Fiona Hewer stated there had been a flood alert for the Thames from Hurley to Cookham but, the alert was removed after a few hours. It was difficult to deal with by wardens and the community if there was another wet day and the flood alert was reinstated again. She requested an update. The Chairman stated it was a good thing the alerts were put in place as they came in three stages and the flood alert was a pre-warning of a flood warning. PCllr Hewer responded it made people ignore the alerts if they did not stay live long enough and wardens were stood down. The Chairman stated alerts should be meaningful so if alerts were short term, people could start to be complacent. The EA said they would take the comments back to the team and find out more information.
With regards to the ground water recharge, Brianne Vally said she needed to find out more information but, it was possible to go to the direct.gov.uk website and search for the groundwater recharge situation report.
Parish councillors wanted to know what provisions had been made to stop the sewage spill reaching the reservoirs to stop contaminants from reaching the Thames. Cyril Mitkov, Thames Water stated he needed to check on the provisions but, there were many thousands of checks carried out before water supply ... view the full minutes text for item 60.
Update from Thames Water
To receive an update from Thames Water.
Cyril Mitkov, Thames Water, explained that December 2018 saw 125% of the long term average which helped refill reservoirs. The London reservoir was filling at 1% per day.
The soil deficit was at zero so the water could penetrate and reach ground water levels. That gave a better chance of avoiding drought in the summer. The water supply was looking encouraging but, he did not want to be complacent.
There were a couple of consultations ongoing – a water resources management plan and a business plan – which were both starting in February 2018 and would run until the end of April 2018. It was a good opportunity for customers and stakeholders to give feedback; details could be found on the Thames Water website and local engagement forums were taking place. The closest forum taking place for RBWM was in Bracknell and Wokingham. PCllr Harry Clasper stated Parish Councils welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback and requested a formal invite from Thames Water to the events.
The Chairman stated he received a lot of queries from residents asking how Thames Water were dealing with climate change and the increase in water demand. Cyril Mitkov responded both climate change and population growth were being looked at to make sure Thames Water were able to provide enough water to meet demand. The government had asked Thames Water to look into the future as far as possible so they were looking at an 80 year timeframe and trying to plan for that. Cyril added that he would send the information to parish clerks and stated the information was also on the Thames Water website.
Ewan Larcombe said he understood that TW needed to sell land but, but, that the land should be offered to the council or parish councils and not immediately offered to the private market. Cyril explained TW had to look at it that the land is an asset held by the company so they need to get the best value for it. Mr Larcombe responded that Parish Councils were not notified of sales. TW had a duty to customers to do right by them and not shareholders. Parishes were impacted when TW made an adverse sale. Cyril responded he understood the issues but, when a company had land they did not need, it could be sold and sold for the highest value.
Councillor Beer stated with regards to the proposed expansion at Heathrow, Heathrow were looking to dig up the water works on Ham Island to use as an embankment to build their third runway. The Chairman stated he would liaise with the Chairman of the Aviation Forum in order to provide feedback and a response to Heathrow. Cyril confirmed it was not something that he would be involved in.
Update from RBWM
To receive an update from the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Councillor Beer raised the issue of Heathrow expansion and stated the consultation started the previous week. He had noticed that Heathrow were trying to use land all around Heathrow to fabricate materials so there was no need to import. Councillor Beer added they wanted to dig up Ham Island for use as a gravel pit but, there were houses, a horse sanctuary and important sewage works that lived on that site. The Chairman explained the Aviation Forum had to respond by 25 March 2018 and he would get Aviation Forum feedback to the Flood Group. However, any response to the plans were part of the Aviation Forum’s remit. Councillor Beer responded the impact would fall within the Flood Group remit. Heathrow wanted to increase capacity and were looking at land grabbing all over to build bits of the third runway offsite. The Chairman said he would take the issue back to officers and see how the Borough could make the biggest impact. It was possible the best strategy would be a combined effort. The Principal Engineer (Flood Risk) requested Thames Water and the Environment Agency to go back to their offices and look into the matter to see if it had been flagged by other areas of their business.
PCllr Ian Thompson stated there had been some questions regarding the routing of existing channels in relation to channel one. He had done some work to see where existing channels ran and had clear maps which he said he would pass on to the EA. The maps had thrown up how water flowed and how the water courses connected with channel one. One concern that had been raised at the Red Hill meeting related to the height of water in the Thames at the time of flood with levels in the channel at the time of flood; lakes were connected to the watercourses and could flood Wraysbury, he added he would like to look at this with the EA. The Chairman requested the issue be followed up at the Red Hill meetings. PCllr Ian Thompson stated to clarify, he had walked channel one and the land was overgrown; it was easy to get disoriented. The watercourses were all at different levels which was the problem; PCllr Ian Thompson said he walked the route with Scott Salmon from the EA. He added they should go to site and put together safety bases to prevent the different levels flooding Wraysbury. Brianne Vally requested the Borough lead on the interaction so the team could focus on funding a project. No further work would be done on the design as they believed they had reached a certain point till more funding was secured. The Principal Engineer (Flood Risk) said he attended the Red Hill meeting and Mr Larcombe was correct. Concerns were expressed again regarding the different levels. The EA needed to consult the Borough before altering any watercourses and it would help to have conversations prior to that.
Mr Larcombe ... view the full minutes text for item 62.
Parish Flood Group Update
To receive an update from the Parish Flood Group.
The Principal Engineer (Flood Risk), confirmed that colleagues were working with providers to secure an ‘on demand’ bus service using suitable vehicles during flood events so that residents were not stranded or cut off.
PCllr Clasper said he had questions regarding funding for resilience measures. He was waiting on confirmation of what funds were available to residents to help make properties flood resilient. The Principal Engineer (Flood Risk), stated that to his knowledge, there were no grants available.
The Parish Councillor for Bisham stated they felt that the outcome on the consultation on flood defences for the village was unreasonable as the it stated they would not guarantee the village would be 100% flood free, although any defences would alleviate a lot of the issues. The Parish Councillor added there was always risk in any in everything but felt the response was unreasonable. Brianne Vally from the EA responded that modelling was carried out to look at the north of the village. She disagreed with some of the findings and if there was something that could be done to alleviate flooding risk, it should be looked into. However, there was not a viable scheme due to the cost benefit ratio. Other avenues had been explored such as temporary defences. The position could always be reviewed and there could be changes to the way schemes were funded.
Actions from previous meeting
To receive an update on the actions carried out from the previous meeting.
Ø Sue Fox, Senior Project Manager had approached the Senior Project Manager regarding the River Thames Scheme (RTS) but, she was not able to attend the meeting to provide the update. The Senior Project Manager would include the update with the minutes of the meeting.
Ø With regards to questions about who the Canal and River Trust group were, Brianne Valley from the Environment Agency (EA) stated discussions were ongoing regarding the transfer of responsibility of managing the RTS so there was no update on the transfer of responsibility. Once that stage had been completed, then an invitation could be extended asking them to attend the Flood Liaison Group and provide a summary of their role and who they were.
Dates of future meetings
To note the dates of future meetings.
Ø 3 April 2018
Members noted the dates of future meetings.