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January 2003
Floods return to Berkshire
Boat in flood

Chris Chester bringing the shopping home, in the aptly named River Gardens in Purley

Hundreds of Berkshire roads have been closed due to flooding.


 

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Roads closed due to flooding

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If you've got some spectacular flood pictures, send them to berkshire.online@bbc.co.uk

Have you been affected by the floods over the New Year period? Let us know!

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The Jubilee River seems to be a hugely contentious project - which rather than alleviating flooding has simply transferred the problem to different locations. Is anyone aware of whether a formal investigation is planned? If not is there a central lobby group pressing for one? These issues need to be addressed.

Hannah, Staines

DID NOT THINK IT WOULD BE LONG AGAIN BEFORE MOST OF THE COUNTY WAS PUT ON FLOOD WATCH THE RIVER THAMES AT WINDSOR/DATCHET WAS RUNNING VERY LOW ON SUNDAY ON MONDAY WE WOKE UP IT WAS QUITE HIGH AND AT THE END OF THE DAY IT IS NOW OVERTOPPING BANKS IN PLACES. THE THAMES AT WINDSOR WAS ALSO HIGH BY THE TOWN BUT THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTED BY THE JUBILEE RIVER , THEN SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT BECAUSE THE RIVER WAS HIGH IN WINDSOR & MAIDENHEAD THE JUBILEE RIVER WAS OPENED WHICH MENT THE LEVELS IN WINDSOR DROPPED DRAMATICALLY BUT IN DATCHET ROSE SHARPLEY. WHATS GOING ON!!! THE JUBILEE RIVER IS NOT HELPING JUST HELPING WINDSOR & MAIDENHEAD

Andrew, Datchet

The thames has a non flood flow capability of just 285 m3/s. The floods at Wraysbury were caused by the Environment Agency sending a total peak of 395 m3/s down a combination of the Thames and the dreaded flood channel. The design of the Thames and the flood channel is for a peak of 515 m3/s. Scared? you bloody well should be! this man made monster must be called in for an Independant enquiry NOW!!!!!!!!!!

Kevin, Wraysbury

My sister has lived in Chertsey for 14 years and we have lived in Wraysbury for the same amount of time. Neither of us have experienced flooding of our properties until this year. WHAT'S GOING ON?

Leslie, Wraysbury

I would be amused to actually see any scientist worth his salt putting out this childish "what goes in comes out" rubbish in trying to justify the jubilee river.

This an absolutely simplistic and completely inaccurate picture of the situation for a river. This "in rate to out rate" rule is particularly ridiculous as therefore you could say: Lets build a big high dam at Windsor and nothing will change as "what goes in will surely come out".

Sure, eventually, indeed over a long enough period of time what goes in would come out once the dam was overflowed, But in the meanwhile water levels in Windsor would rise and much of Windsor would be flooded. Rain comes irregularly; the river has to in effect deal with giant blobs of water not a continuously regular flow. If the flow was completely regular then there would have never been any reason to have variable size gates on all the existing weirs. The way it copes with these blobs is to spread them out over large often v shaped flood planes that effectively massively increase the rivers width , whilst at the time slowing the water flow rate over these planes away from the main depth of the river by a large factor, as well as providing a degree of absorption. Every obstacle along these flood planes helps to slow the water, everything from a blade of grass to a building.

Some of these flood areas are not even directly connected to the main river by a channel but are instead connected to the river by the porousness of soil, e.g. depressions in the ground, ponds , dips in nearby areas to the river. This gives an even larger delaying effect. The overall normal effect of a section of river is to spread out a "blob" of high flow and delay it, unlike a straightforward channel. The "Jubilee River" tries to polish its name with the word "Jubilee" but recent events show this to be sheer polish on a dirty scheme. To bypass a normal set of flood planes such as this Jubilee river has done and in effect try to directly connect with high flow rates two very different water levels will and has had an obvious effects to anybody that can do even basic maths.

The only way I believe the jubilee river could have been approved is through either incompetence or corruption, as it obviously has no real scientific basis. Its a bit like one of those giant schemes you hear about in old style communist dictatorships that go horribly wrong, except that this has happened in what is supposed to be a democratic modern country... Once again I would say that I would be amused to see a single scientist of any worth saying this scheme will not flood the areas downstream of it.

Tim

Did they let the Thames Valley flood to save central London from flooding? I noticed that the Thames Barrier was raised for some length of time just before or during our flooding - because of very high tides.

So the Barrier stops the tide coming in, but presumably it also stops the river water flowing out. So I suppose some-one has to slow water coming down the Thames to avoid floods in London (i.e. keep it up-river)

Details should be obtained of the closure of the Barrier and also details of all the water levels at all the locks on the Thames, also how high the river rose at the London embankment area during our floods. An expert could then give an opinion about what happened.

You might like to pass the above idea to the Residents of Ham Island for their further investigation.

John Lake

Customers tell us that Sonning Bridge is now passable as the flood is now a puddle. Three staff have to travel to Caversham at 5pm and hope that it is officially open to avoid the long delays in Central Reading. PLease can it be inspected?

BBC BERKSHIRE - Yes it is open!

Christine Grieve, Reading

I live on a very small island in the thames opposite old windsor, and I have lived there all my life. Evey year, we flood, as to be expected when living by the river, but what happened this year was not just a flood it was catastrophic! I rung the environment agency and they claimed that the floods in Wraysbury were due to the amount of rainfall, not the Jubilee river. When I asked them if that meant that Maidenhead had a different ecological system, I mysteriously got cut off! I fail to see how they can possibly say the Jubilee river had nothing to do with it. Maidenhead remained dry while some parts of our garden were over 5 feet under water! More than 3 feet extra water than we have had for 55 years, coincidence? They have sacrificed Wraysbury to benefit Maidenhead. All that will happen if they build a flood relief for Wraysbury is our water will get dumped on the next village down, and they will have the same devasting problem.

Lora Cherry Hayden, Wraysbury, middx, UK

Flooding In Wraysbury As you should all now be aware, Wraysbury along with many many other areas has recieved the worst flooding in living memory.

The aspect of this thtat concerns me most is thtat the Environment Agency achieved this by opening only one and a half of the available three sluices (source-their web site).

The remaining sluices were left closed because they were concerned that the speed the water was travelling down the flood channel was eroding the newly planted banks. Thus a decision was made to back water up, flooding areas up river, ie Cookham. With the sluices only half open the report is that most of the flooding in our village was achieved in about 2 to 4 hours.

What concerns me is, when the banks are established would these fools open the lot up? The Jubilee River was a great idea, built I am sure with good intentions. However it is plain to all but the Environment Agency that it is flawed. During the presentatioin made in our Village Hall last year, much was made of how the computer model predicted all was fine, and that "what goes in comes out, so we are no worse off" clearly little notice was taken of the storage and subsequent delay of water achieved by flooding Maidenhead.

We all need an independant enquiry, alternatively we should as villages elect teams, liase and take them on as together we stand a chance of getting an explanation.

Kevin Ainsworth, Wraysbury

THE JUBILEE RIVER HAS PLAYED A HUGE IMPACT ON THE FLOODS SEEN A FEW DAYS AGO. NO MATTER WHAT ANY EA OFFICIAL SAYS THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THE FLOODING. ALTHOUGH MANY AREAS ARE NOW BEEN DOWNGRADED BY THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY FLOODING IS A REAL RISK OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS / MONTHS AS FEILDS ARE SATUATED AND THE WATER TABLE IS STILL VERY HIGH SO ALL RESIDENTS LIVING NEAR THE RIVER IN BERKSHIRE MUST KEEP AN EYE ON WEEATHER AND RIVER CONDITIONS OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. BEST REGARDS FOR THE NEW YEAR LETS HOPE THE EA TAKES ACTION NOW !!!!! THE COUNCIL ALSO NEEDS TO HAVE MORE PLANS READY TO GO IN TO FORCE MAY BE EVEN SETTING UP A FLOOD PREVENTION TEAM WHICH INCLUSE VOLENTEERS TO HELP IN TEH SITUATION OF A FLOOD..

RESIDENTS OF WINDSOR,OLDWINDSOR,DATCHETT ETC , BERKSHIRE

I totally agree with Barbara. I travel to Bracknell each day, from Caversham Park and it's been taking me 2.5 - 3 hrs. The most direct route for me (and a lot of others trying to get to London, Bracknell etc.) is through Sonning. A third bridge is the way forward because I cannot see the flooding problem going away in Sonning and this will become an annual event. Do the councils (Oxon & Berks) not realise the choas this has caused everyone? Sonning bridge is the busiest bridge in the area!! I'll build the third bridge myself if I have to!!!

Pete, Reading

Due to the Sonning Bridge closure my journey to work (between Caversham and Wokingham) has taken me 2.5 hrs. By Wednesday I could take it no more so I have been leaving for work at 6.00am and therefore missing all the traffic. WHEN are we to get a 3rd bridge???????????

Barbara, Reading

I have worked in the Runnymede area for the past seven years and the flooding that is currently affecting us is much more sever than I have seen before. The businesses on the Causeway have either had to shut because of flooding, or hire in portable lavatories since the high water levels are creating havok with the sewage systems. I sincerely hope that local councils take note of areas that are currently flooded and even though the may be under pressure to allow building projects for 'affordable housing' are not daft enough to allow more building on flood plains. John - Ascot

John, Ascot

I was driving to work in Cookham in my brand new mini when i got stuck in the floods and my car staled in the road which was where the thames had burst its bank. I had to call the fire brigade to come and rescue me. Wasn't at all amused and wasn't the start I had planned for the new year. There were no signs or warnings saying that the road in front was flooded. If I had seen a sign I would have never attempted driving through. I am now facing a £5000 cost for a new engine.

Lisa Mann, Maidenhead

Dear Sirs, I use the horton road to travel to work in Stanwell and due to the severe flooding i cannot use this road and neither can i use the road through runymead because this is flooded as well, So i have to use the M4 along with everyone else. I am astonished to see the level of water that has amased on the Horton road and it is the worst i have seen but i would like to say that this is not the first time that i have seen the horton road flooded, I have been using this road to get to work for the past 6 years and still nothing has been done to sort this problem out. Do we know when the money we put toward council tax will sort this problem out, rather than spending the money on speedhumping windsor. A very irate driver who spends 2 hours every day getting to and from Windsor.

Stacey, Windsor

We are all affected by the floods. Because some people like to live in a beautiful area that used to be a flood plane, we all have to pay more in insurence. If they want to live in a flood area then they should pay not the rest of us.

David Taylor, Smethwick West Midlands.

Further to my last email, you might like to know that Ham Island, Old Windsor where I have lived for the past 16 years, was not covered by a "Severe Flood Alert" on the last Saturday or Sunday when the level of water in road rose to over four feet in places, not to mention that several properties had over two feet of water inside. Bearing in mind this total unawareness and incompetence showed by the Environment agency how can we have any faith in their comments regarding the "Jubilee River" flood releif scheme.

Nick Hall, Old Windsor

to the man working in Madeinhead...Pop down to Runymead, wraysbury and old windsor! Your sure to see floods here! I'm 54 and although i've lived here for 20 years now i cannot remember anything like it....although it is jolly good fun! And the Snow made everything look so pretty...like windsor on a sunkist eve


Well, I'm working in Maidenhead and I see no sign of flooding here.... Hmmm...Where's all the water gone?!

Horton Road - Datchet. Tuesday 7th Jan am. Yesterday we had rising water in our back garden to a depth of 1foot and creeping towards our back door.

Today we have a skating rink but added to this is the problem of having been unable to use the loos at our house or run baths etc since Sunday morning.

We had water backing up our loo and the manhole cover lifted in the garden to get rid of the backed up foul water which is now fertilising our back garden!.

Finally today a chemical toilet arrived. Having lived in Datchet for six years now and listening to comments from fellow residents on our road some of whom have been living here for over forty years - this flooding appears unusual for the area.

Local suspicions are now focussed on the Sunnymeads sewage installation carried out some 18 months ago without any local consulatation and the Maidenhead flood relief system which has obvioulsy served them well to our detriment.

I cannot see any evidence for higher rain fall in our area this year compared to previous years and believe that the water has simply been forced to divert against its natural path. It's time to start asking questions!

clare, Datchet, Berks

Hi Jimmy again....Does anyone know where i could find infomation on the weather forcast for the next few weeks? People are starting to forget this but you have to remember this could carry on to April....Get the boats ready!

jimmy,

The cinema that i go to to see all the latest films was under two foot of water and so i have been unable to go and see the newest films to date.

Chris Fox, Reading

The floods on the Hennerton Backwater in Wargrave are the worst they have been in the 24 years my parents have lived there. One of the reasons isthat the Environment Agency refuse to dredge the backwater so its depth has been reduced to 6" in some places which makes a great deal of difference.

My mother's house has water throughout the groundfloor and, because her kitchen is below ground level, even deeper water in there. There were no final warnings from the Environment Agency on the night of 1 January and during the night the river rose sharply and engulfed the house. No extra sandbags were delivered or any help offered.

There was much more that the Environment Agency could have done.

Judith Hallinan, Reading

HI, THE FLOODING IN WINDSOR & DATCHETT IS GETTING SLIGHTLY BETTER. WITH WATER LEVELS FALLING VERY RAPIDLY BUT IT WAS VERY CLOSE TO OUR PROPERTY WHEN THE LEVELS WERE VERY HIGH ON SUNDAY!

DOES ANY ONE KNOW THE CURRENT SITIUATION ABOUT THE JUBILEE RIVER BEING CLOSED OFF BLOCKING WATER FROM FLOWING DOWN STREAM WILL THIS FLOOD DOWNSTREAM AREAS WHEN RE OPENED?

THERES SUPPOSED TO BE MORE RAIN ON THE WAY NEXT WEEK SO MORE FLOODING COULD HAPPEN LETS HOPE NOT!

ANDREW, WINDSOR/ DATCHET

Our estate was ok on Friday after the rain had stopped, however it started to flood over the weekend and only peaked in the early hours of Monday morning, Now this has got to be down to Man and not a act of god, So who is responsible for all the damage, I believe that there was no flooding in Maidenhead thanks to the new flood relief scheme however Chertsy and Wraysbury have had serious flooding, thanks to this new flood relief scheme.

Obviosly a well thought out plan, Somebody should be made accountable for this, But I know who the enviroment agency will blame and that will be somebody who can't defend himself and that being GOD himself, but let me ask you this did GOD build all these wears across the rivers or did he build the new flood relief scheme, some how I don't think so . well I'm away now back to these scenic views of my own personal lake around my house. Brassed off and wet.

Alan McRae, Wraysbury

This is Jimmy again...i've got a update which will shock you Old windsorians the feilds behind Medow Way are flooded....only anyother 2 inches and BAM...FLOODS!

Jimmy,

Sunnymeads end of Wraysbury under 2ft - 3ft of water since Friday 3rd, with approx 100 houses marooned.

NO ONE has been down the Brookside Ave end (the worst affected area) to advise or inspect. Now Monday 6th eve, flood has gone down 2 inches.

The Welley Rd and Horton Rd junction has been flooded and closed since Friday, however do the people of Welley Rd and surrounding roads realise that they will also be marooned when the main road is flooded at the junction of Staines Rd & Welley Rd thereby cutting off 1000 + people from the main road out of Wraysbury.

This could happen in the next 24 hours if the village keeps flooding at the rate it is now. Local authorities not very helpful and conflicting reports from environmental officers - they don't know. Make up your own minds, prepare for the worst and if you can, go and stay with friends for a while.

Some serious questions need to be asked and answered by the local authorities. Local councilors need to arrange meetings with all the residents of Wraysbury as soon as possible.

Mrs Sandra Francis, Wraysbury, Staines, Middx

the floods in windsor hasv been the worse they have ever been since we have lived here! even in 2000 it was not as bad as this! does the current flooding situation have somthing to do with the new jubilee river. the council has been ussless! they have offered no help! we had to get our own.

andrew, windsor

Where was the Environment Agency when we really needed it?? I live right on the Thames at Purley in Berkshire and although under 2 feet of water have still not received a "severe flood warning" Calls to the Floodline provide information which is 24 hours out of date, the website has crashed and a call to the control room in Wallingford ended with us telling them what the situation is!! Thanks a lot Environment Agency - next time leave it to us, we obviously know more about whats going on than you do!!

Stuart Chester, Purley nr Reading

Worst floods in living memory hit Hurley in Berkshire - why? Collective memories of residents of Hurley exceed 50 years but everyone is clear these are the worst floods the village has ever seen. Why? As residents listens to quotes about the success of the flood relief scheme around Maidenhead central Hurley around the Old Bell and Rising Sun suffered their worst flooding since 1947.

Nothing prepared the residents of Hurley for what was to come. This year, as in all previous years, the usual flood warnings were erected but the flooding bore no comparison with previous years. The floods arouse from 2 points.

Firstly, but worse than ever was the spillage from the Thames through the Hurelyford Caravan Park and then down Shepherds Lane towards and into the Old Bell - this water then spilled up and down the High Street.

Less predictable was the flooding along Bisham Brook that no one had ever witnessed before. This flooded residents around the vicinity of the Rising Sun. Resident at Temple Park Farm for 50 years Magnus Pearce had never seen anything like it - a familiar quote around Hurley this weekend as local people raced for sandbags and tried to mop up.

The authorities have to be asked why the flooding was so bad. The residents of Hurley want some answers - was this a once in a 50 year flood or was it a sign of the times to come since the introduction of the new flood defences at Maidenhead?

mike birkhead, Hurley Berks

05/01/03 I live near the Thames in Reading . The road infront of my house was underwater yesterday but has receeded a little this morning but my backgarden is still under 1 foot of water . The toilet can't be flushed as it fills up and doesn't empty (such joy) . Why wasn't I offered any sand bags or advise from the Council , Thames Water , Enviroment Agency (who's website was down) . Luckily it hasn't entered the house , yet . But it could have done . The weather doesn't seem as bad as a couple of years ago and we didn't have this problem then . Is this in any way connected with the new Thames Water building on the other side of the weir/lock ? Or am I just being paranoid ?????

Jed, Reading

As far as flooding in Caversham is concerned, the words, could not , organise, party and brewery come to mind. City status indeed, what a dreadful council.

C.K.Hafner, Caversham RG4 8Ex

I've just got word that Datchet railway tracks have been flooded by Kris cruisers...is that true? Also i was talking to a lock keeper in old windsor and he said that it should peak in the next 6-12 hours...and i heard there is alot of water coming down from the great park....LOL...not looking good...anyone know of a time when floods were as bad as this!?

Jimmy, Old windsor

As a resident of Ham Island Old Windsor for the past sixteen years, I am appaled by recent comments made a government minister to the effect that the flooding of our area is in no way related to the recent opening of the Maidenhead flood relief channel and this is a myth put about to disscredit the government.

The rainfall we have had during the past six months is in no way abnormal and we have not encountered anything last this in the past sixteen years. It is also the first time in my memory that the main road acros Runnymede has been closed totally due to flooding.

During August I travelled the whole length of the flood channell and even at this time it was very nearly at normal operating level. The argument put forward by the Environment Agency at the time of construction was that excess water would drain off onto the flood plain along its ten mile lenghth, quite the reverse has been the case, all the ajoining farmlands and fields have drained into the channel.

This channel has bypassed three locks and weirs depositing its contents about a mile and a half above us which has led to flooding from Datchet to Chertsey at a level which has not been seen since the floods of 1947.

The net result of this is we have water in our houses, insurance preiums which will at least diuble next year and propertys that will be virtually unsaleable.

N.D.Hall, Old Windsor/Berks

I believe that the flooding of homes downstream of Windsor only occured after the authorities opened the gates on the new Jubilee River. Also the water is now across the road in Datchet village centre.

Ewan Larcombe, Datchet, Berks

jubilee flood relief scheme is totally to blame for the current floods in datchet, runnymede & old windsor.

How the envoirment agency sleeps at night is a mystery. You can never beat nature and this is now going to be a continuos problem for us as residents.

We have not had floods like this for many years. Still maidenhead is nice and dry!

alison baker, old windsor

I have lived in Purley for 17 years and we have never experienced anything like this before.

A conscious decision was taken to save Maidenhead, relieve Oxford and let the area in between flood. Nobody bothers with Purley because we are not in Reading and are on the borders of West Berkshire.

Even the police needed a map and our MP Mr Salter pontificated and spouted the usual rubbish about homes not being built on a flood plane.

He also added further insult by stating that underground was full and this would happen every year - anyone with basic geography knows that it's fills in the winter and empties in the summer.

You only had to look at the river level in November to realise that this definitely is not the case. It's about time the Purley River estate was noticed and the views of its residents listened to!!

Mrs Sue Whiteley, Purley on Thames

I would like to say that NOTHING has been mentioned about the flooding in Purley....I was there today and saw several of my mums neighbours lose everything they own which I think is because the Environment Agency weren' even aware of how severe the flooding was untill the people of Mapledurham Drive phoned to say thy needed sandbags.

A flood warning was given, but it is in fact a severe flood, as the Thames is now running though the village in many areas. Something HAS got to be done about this situation......I hope when we get back tomorrow Mums house will be ok, but we just don't know.

Lucy, Purley, Berks


I have been trying to get information as to the likelyhood of my property being flooded. The Environment Agency Telephone line & web page was unbelieveabley vague. It offered no information other than than to keep an eye out for flooding & give the weather forecast. It was pathetic. The amount of money that must be wasted if that is all they can say. They should be able based on my post code to give the likely hood of flooding over a given time period. They give a general forecast for 100 miles of the River Thames.

Simon, Reading

I think the EA warnings are wrong. The Thames in Bisham is the highest its been since I have been here (1984) and a lot higher than 2000. Property down our road will be flooded and the river is still rising at an alarming rate!

Guy Thompson, Bisham/Berks


The road past Sonning Eye is flooded but still not closed despite requests to the authorities. Several vehicles have broken down in the flooded area and have had to be dragged out. It is recommended that you avoid using Sonning Bridge for the moment.

Jonathan Bowen, Sonning Eye

The A327 between Shinfield and Arborfield is flooded. Major roadworks are still in progress to resurface this stretch of road, but it has not been raised to prevent flooding. Why?

Mark, Reading

The problems on the A321 at Hurst are down to blocked drains, your photographer found about the only working drain for miles around! If they would unblock the drains the A321 could be re-opened. And the Loddon has just burst it's banks at Whistley Bridge near Hurst.

Chris, Hurst

DATCHET ~ RIVER THAMES - A FLOOD WARNING HAS NOW BEEN ISSUED SINCE THEN THE RIVER HAS BEEN RISING AT A VERY RAPID SPEED THE RIVER IS VERY CLOSE BY THE LOOKS OF IT TO BUSTING THE CRIS CURSER BOAT YARD HAS NOW FLOODED WITH WATER GETTING CLOSER TO THE MAIN ROAD.

ANDREW, DATCHET

we didn't go out on New Year's eve because we have a stream at the bottom of our garden and were worried it would have risen up to our back door by midnight!

Pauline, Woodley

At least the floods have meant that more birds come into my garden - it looks like a lake and has attracted all sorts including a Heron!

Len, Bracknell

Sonning looks bad - there's a big flood by the farm at the roundabout.

Sue, Twyford

You're right about the A321 - it was flooded on Hinton Road too and that's where the diversion took you! Although it was passable.

Sharon, Bracknell

People need to slow down when they go through floods and be considerate - if someone is waiting for you to go through a flood don't repay them by covering their car in watery muck as you pass them!

Matt, Caversham

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