10:08AM, Tuesday 29 March 2016
Nick Read, regional liaison officer with the Environment Agency, discussed how authorities in the area have improved environment defences since the 2007 Thames flood.
Increased expenditure means that the council will ask the Royal Borough for a two per cent increase on the money it receives from its council tax precept for next year.
However, due to changes in the number of properties in Cookham and the method the Royal Borough uses to collect tax, the council predicts that residents’ contributions to their annual council tax bill will fall by 0.3 per cent.
Mr Read described how the relevant agencies plan for future disasters, fund projects, and interact with each other.
He said: “The nature of the flooding in this area can be very sustained and with communities cut off, people are not aware, memories are quite short, it does put a strain on emergency services.”
Although no plans were discussed in intricate detail, Mr Read did outline how flood defence projects are planned and built.
Interaction between relevant authorities like the Royal Borough, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency will be key in building long-term flood defence projects.
Funding for defences will be made up of capital grants from the Government, which would represent up to 30 per cent of the total cost of a project, with the rest of the funding made up from other sources, such as the Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Environment Agency plans how to build effective defences from river flooding, and then works with parties like the Royal Borough - a designated ‘lead local flood authority’ – and other services and agencies to help assess if funding would be available.
The total expenditure for the council was described as ‘on target’ to be within the £128,000 budget in the annual report.
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