England

Thames flood defences 'will increase Sunbury risk'

Woman sitting in floodwater Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The River Thames reached its highest level in 60 years this winter

Homeowners have raised concerns a flood defence scheme for the River Thames could increase the risk to their properties in Sunbury.

Residents have said overflow channels would stop short of the Surrey town and water could be funnelled towards them.

The Environment Agency said Sunbury would see benefits from the £256m River Thames Scheme and risks would not rise.

Spokesman David Murphy said the channels were to convey water in a channel instead of on the flood plain.

Sunbury resident Kevin Ella said no-one would want to live in the town.

'No future'

"The houses are not going to be worth any money because people know we're at the end of a flood relief," he said.

Fellow resident Jeff Dormer added: "[It is] very likely [the floods] will happen again. There is no future for us here."

BBC reporter Gareth Furby said nearby Datchet would see flood levels fall by three quarters of a metre and Wraysbury would see flood levels fall by a third of a metre, but Sunbury had no minimum reduction and a maximum benefit of about 15cm, under the scheme.

Mr Murphy said the whole scheme would benefit more than 15,000 properties along the Thames.

He said: "The River Thames Scheme includes all communities from Datchet down to Teddington and that includes Sunbury.

"Sunbury will see benefits from the scheme although those benefits will be less than other communities."

He said there were proposals to develop the scheme to increase the capacity of three weirs and reduce flood levels in Sunbury.

"[But] the amount that we can reduce water levels is limited because of the size of the river as it passes down through Sunbury down to Teddington," he stressed.

About 1,000 homes in Surrey were flooded during the winter after the Thames reached its highest level in 60 years.

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