UPDATE FROM RBWM
To receive the above verbal update.
Carolyn Richardson, Joint Emergency Planning Manager, reported the following:
· The Cookham Causeway Plan, which needed to be shared with Mohammed Mamun, Senior Flood Risk Consultant, would be shared with the Group.
· New members of staff were due to join the flood warden community in September, who would be familiarised to the area should flooding occurred.
Martin Coker asked for information on the depth boards located adjacent to The Pound. Carolyn said this was checked in the winter period and the team would be notified and the Martin would be updated. Martin said the positioning of the depth boards needed to be reviewed because the board could not be seen from the road due to overgrown foliage. The Flood Committee at Cookham was trying to contact causeway management to arrange training for volunteers.
ACTION: Carolyn Richardson to report back to Cookham Parish Council regarding the depth boards.
ACTION: Carolyn Richardson to consider training considering social distancing limitations.
Martin Coker asked if issues could be directly risen with Mohammed and the Group was advised to direct enquiries to the RBWM Highways inbox, and the query would then be forwarded to the appropriate person.
Mohammed Mamun reported the following:
· Wraysbury Drain:
o As a short-term solution, the weir height could be raised by approximately 10mm. The water levels at different locations would be monitored to ascertain the impact of the weir height adjustment.
o Letters were sent to riparian landowners asking to fulfil their riparian responsibilities as a result of blockages in the drain near Feathers Lane. An inspection, some minor tree clearances and other works may be carried out.
· Revision of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) had been carried out, which identified short- and long-term action plans. Consultation would be arranged before adoption.
· The existing telemetry system that were not functioning had been reviewed, and research had been carried out to identify different measures that could be implemented. Suppliers wanted to undertake a site visit prior to finalising a quote, which was not possible due to COVID-19. Site visits were now in the process of taking place.
The Chairman asked if the telemetry was regarding the RBWM River Thames telemetry and the Members were informed that the telemetry was in the Borough and not on the river. Sue Fox, Principal Commissioning Officer, said the telemetry system was mainly on ordinary watercourses and ditches. VolkerHighways had an enhanced inspection regime on the watercourses that took place when rainfall was anticipated, with a check before, during and after rainfall.
Councillor Larcombe said the gravel from the bridge installed near the Dive Centre needed to be unblocked to allow the water to flow, rather than changing the weir at the Wraysbury Drain. He said the issues arose due to over thirty years of a lack of maintenance of the drain. He said it was positive there was progress on the issues in Feather’s Lane, because the concrete blockage was there for over a year, which he had reported last year and in June with no response or action taken.
(Councillor Stimson joined the meeting.)
The Chairman said the riparian owners of Wraysbury Drain received letters to advise them of their riparian rights. Contractors would inspect the area with the permission of the landowners, with a view to enforce riparian owners to undertake the necessary work to remove the blockage, before the authority’s contractors or volunteer communities addressed the blockage.
Councillor Larcombe asked when the inspection would take place, and the Chairman said he had asked this to occur within the next ten days.
Martin Coker said he raised a query in the previous meeting about the drainage system at the lower end of Whyteladyes Lane. There was allegedly a site meeting and no issues were raised. He asked if there would be a regular inspection of the drains to ensure they were unblocked prior to the flooding season. Sue Fox said she was unfamiliar with this issue as she did not attend the previous meeting and would pick this up offline.
ACTION: Sue Fox to report on the drainage inspections near Whyteladyes Lane.
Councillor Stimson, Lead Member of Environmental Services, Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside, stated that the climate change strategy had launched, which was unanimously passed by all Councillors, and was now under consultation. She invited all residents, Members of the Group, businesses and anyone interested to help make the strategy as good as possible.
Councillor Stimson showed the Members how to navigate the consultation RBWM page. The link for the Environment and Climate Strategy Consultation was https://www3.rbwm.gov.uk/info/200171/energy_and_sustainability/1541/environment_and_climate_strategy#:~:text=%20The%20Environment%20and%20Climate%20Strategy%20focuses%20on,cycling%2C%20as%20well%20as%20investing%20in...%20More%20.
The draft Environment and Climate Strategy had four sections including energy, travel, natural environment and circular energy. Each area had objectives and actions, some of which could be met as a community, whilst others would require assistance from the government and the consultation reviewed each area to ensure the strategy was effective.
Chris Joyce, Head of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Economic Growth, said the key question of the consultation was how the strategy could be delivered and the role organisations could play.
Duncan Parker, Horton Flood representative, said the main problem regarding the Wraysbury Drain was the lack of maintenance of River Colne Brooke. The EA had told Duncan that this did not have a flooding impact on residents’ homes, however he said the poor maintenance impeded the flow of water back to Horton. He asked if any progress was made on this, and the Group was informed that maintenance issues were raised by residents and elected members to the EA. Brianne said the schedule of work had been shared in previous meetings and would be re-circulated. If River Colne Brooke was not on the planned maintenance, enquiries would be made to review this.
ACTION: Brianne to report to the Group if River Colne Brook was on the maintenance plan and assess the water in Coppermill Road and Horton.
Duncan Parker said the Colne Brook floods ran into the Wraysbury gravel pit ad fed the drain into Hythe End’s holding lakes, which could not hold water due to a lack of maintenance of river Colne Brook. The Chairman asked Duncan to share the details of his query via email so that they could be addressed.
Councillor Larcombe said every watercourse, land and drainage infrastructure in Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury needed an inspection and work to be done. There was not a system in place with a division between ordinary watercourses and designated main rivers.
The Chairman said the designated main rivers were the responsibility of the EA and ordinary watercourses were the responsibility of the Local Flood Authority (LFA), who would enforce maintenance through the riparian owners respectively. Maintenance was the riparian owners’ responsibility, which was enforced by either the EA or LFA. The correct organisation needed to be contacted for concerns to be dealt with through this system.
Councillor Larcombe said he wrote a report that detailed the issues and was addressed in the meeting in October 2019. He said there was a failure to action the system and said there was no cost to the Borough to send letters to the landowners or charge landowners for the maintenance if contractors were used to resolve the issues. The Chairman said Councillor Lacombe should continue to address the issues with LFA regarding the land drainage management, which would be dealt with in order of priority.
Duncan Parker said he raised issues about River Colne Brooke with the EA for many years and the response he received was that the river was narrowing itself. River Colne Brook was a main drain for the area, and once the land reached its capacity of water, it would push up the gullies in Coppermill Road. The Chairman said this item would remain on the agenda until it was resolved.
Duncan Parker said the bridge on Coppermill Road had two islands forming with trees growing which needed to be removed, however the EA said there was no funding for this.
Brianne asked Duncan Parker to send all the details and incident reports that were raised, and a cross border liaison was required as the area was covered by two EA teams. Duncan said no incident reports were available as all correspondences with the EA took place via telephone or face-to-face.