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Troubled Jubilee River flood scheme gets £200M extension

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ENVIRONMENT AGENCY engineers will next week unveil £200M plans to build three flood defence channels along the River Thames between Windsor and Walton.

The plans will effectively extend the 11.6km Jubilee River scheme, which diverts flood water away from the Thames as it passes through Maidenhead, Windsor and Eton, by up to 16km.

In all, 11,700 properties remain at risk of flooding downstream of the Jubilee River.

The plans are a resurrection of a study carried out in 1992 that was thrown out because of the high cost. They were revived in 2004 (NCE 13 May 2004).

Construction of the proposed new flood defence channels is complicated by the density and location of buildings, and infrastructure in the flood plain downstream of Windsor.

Instead of a single channel, a series of three flood relief channels will have to be built, along with 'community-based options' through the centre of Staines.

Since 2004 the Agency has confirmed that the creation of the channels, largely through landfi ll, is viable after site investigations found little hazardous waste.

It has also ruled out river reprofing through Staines after field surveys this summer identified protected plants and species, including the Depressed River Mussel.

Instead, demountable flood barriers and public awareness measures will be used.

The plans are to be revealed at a meeting of the Thames Regional Flood Defence Committee on Monday.

The Agency hopes to begin work on the Staines section in 2008, but does not expect to secure funding for the diversion channels until after 2010 as there are higher priority schemes nationally.

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