Agenda item

Tom McCann asked the Executive Member for Environment the following question:




The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy report shows that you do not have in house expertise to draft a comprehensive strategy; it also shows you do not have enough money in your budget to implement a strategy and you have little expectation of getting any more money. Is your only strategy to cross your fingers and hope it does not rain?



I am not sure where you get your allegations from Councillor McCann, but you are way off the mark again.  By the way, I do not know whether your concerns were raised in the consultation we carried out last year? 


The Council has developed the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, in the form required by the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, working closely with our term consultant WSP.  WSP have a wider range of expertise in this field than a small authority such as Wokingham could ever expect to employ.  The project was overseen by the Council’s Flood Risk Manager who has a great deal of experience and expertise in flood and drainage matters.


The action plan that arises from the strategy will be overseen by a working group composed of Members and Officers.  Where necessary we will also employ expert advice on matters where we need additional resource. 


As and when specific projects are identified, then funding will be sought to realise them.  Funding for flood protection may be from one or more of the following - the Council’s own budgets, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, a levy placed on all lead flood authorities of which we are one, or from developer contributions.  The Council’s capital programme, agreed at the February Executive, clearly laid out additional funding for flood protection schemes.  £200,000 a year has been allocated to general drainage and flood schemes and £4.1m has been allocated to address specific flooding problems, including on key parts of the road network.  This is significantly more than has been allocated to flood schemes in previous years.


In conclusion, this piece of work lays a solid foundation on which to build stronger protection against future flood events.  Already we found last year that work done after the 2007 floods protected areas previously affected and we will be bringing forward schemes to reduce the impact on our roads especially over the Loddon which was the major issue in last year’s flood event.


I refute your allegations and trust my statement puts the record straight for our residents.


Supplementary Question

Having spent this afternoon reading through all the wonderful reports on the Flooding Strategy and all the various mechanisms that are recommended in order to fill in forms to get money from the Government, can you at least assure me that if the Government allocates money to the Council for flood prevention that is used for flood prevention rather than filling in potholes in the road which the Council is supposed to do anyway?


Supplementary Answer

The money is only normally allocated for specific schemes.  The road ones that I was referring to were things like the A327 between Arborfield and Shinfield where the road floods there and we hope as part of the start of the works for the Easter Relief Road in Shinfield to raise the road so that it does not flood; not fill in a pothole.