02:15PM, Wednesday 28 July 2021
Councillors learned about recent efforts to address flooding in the Royal Borough at a meeting last night (Tuesday, July 27) – though the lack of a written report was criticised by the opposition.
At the Flood Liaison Group on Tuesday evening, Brianne Vally of the Environment Agency reported on repairs to Black Potts Weir in Windsor.
These were paused in June for the Royal Windsor Horse Show but have now resumed and are on track to finish in autumn.
Next, Denise Kinsella of Thames Water reported on the company’s ongoing maintenance work to improve drainage of surface water.
She said that the company has scheduled 32km of pipe cleaning in the borough, to be completed by the end of March next year. It has so far cleared 8km.
Thames Water has also been using sewer depth monitoring to identify possible blockages early and rectify them before they become problematic.
There are 62 such systems
installed in Maidenhead and 18 in Windsor. So far, 26 blockages have been spotted in Maidenhead and three in Windsor.
Working together with the council, Thames Water has also been addressing problems in Moneyrow Green, which suffered a series of damaging floods earlier this year and in 2020.
Work has been conducted on manholes, where surface water tends to collect and overflow. 1km of iron in the sewers has also been descaled, increasing the pipes’ capacity.
Lastly, Sue Fox of the Royal Borough’s highways, parks and countryside service reported that the council has been jetting and clearing areas of the borough to tackle drainage issues on highways.
The borough has also cleared around a hundred soakaways – large pits that help surface water from drainage pipes to percolate through soil.
Ms Fox indicated a need for the Royal Borough and other agencies to work together, as many of the issues intersect.
“Quite a lot of our highway drainage network actually discharges into the Thames Water surface water sewer network,” she said.
“So where we’ve been clearing our own gullies and pipes, that hasn’t necessarily solved the issue.”
After this report, resident Brian McArthur said he wanted to see improvements on the council’s leadership on flooding – including ‘corrective action’ against breaches by landowners.
“What really concerns me is that RBWM are simply not using the powers and all the duties given to them in relation to land and surface flood risk,” he said.
Councillor John Baldwin (Lib Dem, Belmont), raised concerns about the fact that there were no documents available to view prior to the meeting.
He said: “The issues that Sue raised this evening are so significant, I find it unbelievable – given that she clearly has been working on this for months – that they can’t be rendered into a document that can be made available to the public.”
Chair of the meeting, Cllr David Cannon (Con, Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury) said this was because the meeting was ‘not a formal meeting of council’.
But Cllr Baldwin did not accept this as a good reason.
“Officers of the council are required under the constitution to provide community groups and members with proper reporting,” he said.
“It’s just not acceptable for us to turn up and discuss it like it’s a coffee morning.”