Agenda and minutes
Venue: Ascot and Bray - Town Hall
Contact: Wendy Binmore 01628 796251
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Parish Councillor Harry Clasper, Simon Lavin and Brianne Vally.
To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 April 2017 be approved.
Update from the Environment Agency
To receive an update from the Environment Agency.
There was no representative available from the Environment Agency (EA) to provide an update but, Brianne Vally had sent an update via email which Sue Fox, Principal Commissioning Officer (Highways & Transport) read out:
Lower Thames Modelling
The Lower River Thames model (Hambledon to Teddington), had been reviewed and approved. The Flood Zone 3 Section of the Flood Map for Planning (Rivers and Sea) had been updated using the data on their external website on 30 April 2018. It was now the best available data they had for fluvial flood risk in the area. The EA had engaged with the Royal Borough during the review of the modelled extents. The EA were continuing to work with the Royal borough to ensure both strategic planning decisions and advice provided by the EA in response to planning application was using the most up to date information.
Cookham Society and Maidenhead Waterways
A workshop was planning to take place on 23 April 2018 and was postponed due to operational requirements for Operation Lyceum. The EA were having an internal meeting on 6 July 2018 about resourcing and how the EA could best meet the needs of both the Cookham Society and Maidenhead Waterways.
Catchment Situation Report
River flows had continued to decrease over recent weeks to below normal conditions, in response to drier weather conditions. Due to the continuing warm and dry weather, the soil moisture deficits had increased, as the soil had dried, and were now above the end of June 2018 long term average.
Out of the 15 observed groundwater indicator sites, there were no sites at exceptionally low levels, no sites at notably low levels, no sites at below normal levels, 11 sites at normal levels, three sites at above normal level, one site at notably high and no sites at exceptionally high levels for the time of year. Groundwater levels rose at one of the indicator sites over the last week, and fell at 14 indicator sites.
For more detail on rainfall, river flows and groundwater levels Members could consult the EA’s water situation report at:
The Chairman stated the modelling had been sent to a number of Councillors on 4 May 2018 and that was the best available data the EA had. The EA were engaged with the borough and continued to work with the borough on planning applications as the EA were statutory consultees on planning matters.
Dick Scarff asked if the Parishes could have paper copies of flood maps circulated to them. The Principal Commissioning Officer (Highways & Transport) said she would ask the EA to provide paper maps to the Parishes.
v Action – The Principal Commissioning Officer (Highways & Transport) to request large paper flood maps from the EA.
The Principal Commissioning Officer (Highways & Transport) stated she had asked the EA for a new date for the works in Cookham which had been postponed. Dick Scarff stated there was an informal get together with partners with Maidenhead Waterways pushing ahead for a Rivers Management Plan. ... view the full minutes text for item 76.
Update from Thames Water
To receive an update from Thames Water.
Cyril Mitkov, Thames Water, stated in May 2018, rainfall was 109% of 134 year historical monthly average and there had been a lot of rainfall earlier in the year which had helped with ground water levels which were above average for the time of year. However, June, July and August 2018 were below average precipitation forecast with the area only having 6% of 134 year monthly average rainfall.
Martin Coker stated at the previous meeting, he had asked about drainage problems in Cookham. Cyril Mitkov stated he did not have an update on that yet but would look into the repairs needed and when they would be carried out when he was next in the office. Martin Coker responded stated he needed to know if Thames Water could do something about it so the issues don’t keep occurring or get worse. The Chairman stated all improvements with new pumping stations would not be able to be tested until heavier rainfall.
Update from RBWM
To receive an update from the Royal Borough.
Carolyn Richardson, Joint Emergency Planning Manager gave Members of the Forum a brief update on the following areas:
EA Temporary Flood Defence situation. There were currently five being looked at across the Borough flood risk areas. They were being reviewed and remodelled again by the EA to confirm the areas at risk, the benefits and any knock on impacts downstream. The EA were leading on the project so more details may be available at the next meeting. It should also be noted that there was no guarantee that all, if any, of the communities would get the defences since the equipment were national assets so may not be available if they were already deployed elsewhere in the Thames Valley area, or indeed in the UK.
Bisham: As indicated at the meeting Carolyn Richardson had been working with the EA and South East Water (SEW) in relation to some unusual water levels in the Bisham Brook, Hurley. The brook was a Main River and therefore the lead for flood alleviation is the EA. It had been established however, that SEW had stopped pumping water from that area, and as a result ground water levels rose, this may not however have been an issues but a culvert is also blocked which has meant the water was building up. SEW have restarted pumping on notification of the issue until such time as the culvert is cleared. This was a riparian owner responsibility and is being taken up by the EA.
Sue Fox, Principal Commissioning Officer stated there was not much to update. The programme for 2018 was progressing and some work was commissioned in Datchet. The Landscape Architect had been in touch regarding the recreation ground ditch to provide advice on stopping further erosion and to stabilise banks.
Martin Coker stated the gully in Lower Road needed clearing as it was blocked with debris. Dick Scarff commented that it needed regular clearance. The Principal Commissioning Officer confirmed a number of gullies had been reported to Volker who were instructed to clear them. She had also requested a site visit with one of the Volker engineers. Dick Scarff responded the gullies needed routine preventative clearance. Councillor Kellaway said he had been on a site visit and wished to be included in the outcome to ensure everyone was aware of the progress.
Parish Councillor Margaret Lenton stated the saga of the Wraysbury Drain continued. The Borough awarded £185k to clear it but, she was concerned about how much money had been spent as most of it seemed to have gone on consultants, and not the job itself. She added £25k was left and she had asked if the Parish Council could put that towards sluice gates. An engineer had tried to look at them but he couldn’t get access. The Principal Commissioning Officer responded Volker had been out and now had details of the landowner. Legislation was in place to gain access to the sluice and she was in the process to ... view the full minutes text for item 78.
Parish Flood Group Update
To receive an update from Parish Councils.
Martin Coker stated he had no update for the Forum but, he wanted to invite all Members to a training and exercise event for flooding for volunteers that would have representatives from fire and rescue, police and Borough officers present. The training event was to take place on 23 August 2018 at the Chartered Institute of Marketing in Cookham.
Ian Thompson asked if the funding issues had been sorted for the River Thames Scheme and what the timescales for construction were. The Chairman confirmed he would email all Members the information on the current position. The Chairman stated he would also include information on insurance views on the River Thames Scheme.
Ian Thompson stated the Borough had experienced very dry weather which left no soakaway and a risk of flooding. That had happened in 2007 so he wanted to make Members aware of the risks. Carolyn Richards, Emergency Planning Manager stated she had been involved in 2007 and the Borough was currently at risk of flash flooding and therefore, the Borough needed to make sure blockages were reported so they could be cleared.
Councillor Beer stated Burfield Ditch took water from the Crown Estate and then it went into the river through a gap in houses. He wanted to know what the EA were doing about clearing the rivers to prevent water levels rising and presenting a risk to the houses. Parish Councillor Margaret Lenton wanted to know what would happen to the watercourses once the third runway was built. Ian Thompson responded Heathrow stated it would have lakes which would pump down watercourses into the Thames. However, he was not sure how it would affect the River Thames Scheme. If there was a flooding situation, it could cause a problem so the Forum needed to know Heathrow’s position on that.
Actions from previous meeting
To receive an update on actions carried out from the previous meeting.
No one from the Environment Agency (EA) was available to attend the Flood Liaison Group meeting but, Richard Neil from the EA had sent an update via email which included a summary of actions from the minutes of the previous meeting. The Forum noted the following key points:
Temporary work undertaken on the weir near Colne Way, Hythe End
There had been no applications received or approved, for carrying out works to the weir between Ferry Lane and Colne Way, Hythe End. The local Asset Inspector was not aware of any works having been scheduled around the time in question and has not been able to determine what works were carried out. If there were any more details that Councillor Lenton was aware of that could be passed on, the local Asset Performance team might be able to investigate further.
PCllr Margaret Lenton stated the EA had promised information to pass on to all Parish Councils but they had not received anything. Sue Fox, Principal Commissioning Officer (Highways & Transport) said she would ask why the EA was slow in responding and would explain to them that a lack of response was not good enough.
River Thames Scheme Funding Action
The Chairman explained to the Forum that Full Council had passed a Motion which urged the Secretary of State to step in regarding the funding for the RTS. The Chairman stated he was also on the funding groups with other councils and twice there had been meetings scheduled with Phillip Hammond and twice they had been cancelled.
Results of the Charging Consultation
The results of the charging consultation were published online and the EA had provided the weblink:
The update of LIDAR and flood mapping was to be presented at the next Flood Liaison Group meeting in October 2018.
Dates of future meetings
To note the dates of future meetings:
· 2 October 2018
· 24 January 2019
· 2 April 1019
Members noted the dates of the future meetings.