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River Thames Scheme approved

Published: 29 June 2021

Image of river thames flooding

Major flood alleviation scheme will help thousands of residents and businesses

Thousands of homes across Surrey and the surrounding area are set to be better protected from flooding, after the Government approved the latest stage of the River Thames Scheme.

Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency have taken the lead in delivering the River Thames Scheme. It will reduce the flood risk for 11,000 homes and 1,600 businesses in communities along the river.

The government has now approved the scheme's outline business case (OBC). The OBC lays out why the scheme is needed, how it will be built and its value for money. This approval unlocks the first £60m of the scheme's funding so that detailed design and planning work can begin.

Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council, said: "This is great news for Surrey and its neighbours. The scheme means communities along the River Thames can look forward to a brighter future knowing that Surrey County Council, the Environment Agency, their partners and the project's team of expert engineers are working hard to reduce the likelihood of their homes and businesses flooding."

So what changes are being made in Surrey?

The scheme will see two new flood relief channels constructed at Runnymede and Spelthorne. The size of the weirs will be increased at Sunbury, Molesey, Teddington and Desborough Cut, to increase their capacity enabling more water to flow through. The scheme's wider benefits will include new walking and cycle paths, parks and wildlife habitats.

The large scale of the project means the government has directed that it be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). NSIPs require a type of consent known as 'development consent order' (DCO). A DCO removes the need to obtain several separate consents, including planning permission, and is designed to be a quicker process than applying for these separately. Part of the DCO process will see us consulting on the plans for the scheme and we will let you know when this is happening so you can find out more and give your feedback.

Further information on the scheme can be found on the GOV.UK River Thames Scheme webpage.

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