It’s Flood Action Week, so it’s time for Surrey residents who live near rivers or other watercourses, or who can be impacted by surface water or groundwater flooding, to be prepared in case of severe weather over the winter months.
Making sure you’re aware of your home’s flood risk and getting prepared in case of flooding is important as we head into the wettest time of the year. Ensuring any watercourses you’re responsible for are kept running freely could also help protect your home and those around you.
At the same time, Surrey County Council is working with the Environment Agency and other partners to reduce the risk of flooding. The £270 million Surrey Flood Alleviation Programme is looking to ensure properties are resilient across the county.
Marisa Heath, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Flooding can be devastating for residents and local businesses, so we need to work together to minimise the potential impact.
“For homes and businesses, it’s important to be prepared in case the worst happens. Meanwhile, the county council and our partners are working on short-term solutions, alongside looking at long-term ways to reduce the impact of flooding.”
Check the risk and be prepared
Residents are advised to check their home’s flood risk by visiting check-long-term-flood-risk.service.gov.uk or calling the Floodline on 0345 988 1188. There is also the opportunity to register for flood alerts.
If there is a risk of flooding, there’s advice on how to be prepared at surreycc.gov.uk/surreyprepared.
If you, or someone you know, is vulnerable, requires additional assistance or has additional communication needs then you can sign up to the Priority Services Register by contacting your utility providers. It is free and can help you or a loved one to stay safe, warm and independent at home.
Minimise the chances of flooding
Residents who own land next to watercourses like ditches, streams or brooks are ‘riparian landowners’ – this means that they are responsible for keeping these watercourses clear, even though they may seem to be beyond their boundary or run through a piped section.
Over the autumn, leaves and branches fall and silt builds up. Keeping ditches and other watercourses clear could help prevent homes from flooding later in the winter.
Visit surreycc.gov.uk/floodingadvice for more information.
How homes will be protected this winter
If river levels start increasing and there are concerns about possible flooding, the Environment Agency has identified locations where temporary flood barriers could be used. These could include Chertsey, Godalming (part of a permanent flood alleviation scheme), Guildford and Weybridge.
The barriers are metal frames with waterproof covers which can be brought out when river levels are due to be high. The exact location of the barriers is dependent on suitable ground conditions to ensure stability. They remain in place while there is a risk of flooding.
Reducing the risk of flooding
Surrey County Council has committed to spending £33 million over 10 years from the Surrey Flood Alleviation Programme on long term flood risk management work to protect homes and roads. Projects so far include:
- Caterham on the Hill where the county council will be installing resilience measures to 50 properties starting in February. In December, another 30 properties are being evaluated to see if they are also suitable.
- Alfold where 36 properties have been identified that would benefit from resilience measures. This project is well developed with surveys and installation planned for 2022/23.
There are a number of other schemes also in development which will reduce the risk of flooding in a number of Surrey communities. These are all being done with partners including the Environment Agency, and district and borough councils, in locations like Leatherhead and Fetcham, Sanway and Byfleet, Brooklands, and Guildford.
The Environment Agency is also consulting on strategic flood risk management plans. For more information visit bit.ly/floodriskplans
River Thames Scheme
Detailed work is continuing on the River Thames Scheme which is designed to reduce flood risk between Egham and Teddington.
Earlier this year, the scheme’s outline business case was approved by the Department for the Environment and the Treasury. The approval unlocked the first £60m of the scheme’s funding for detailed design and planning work. The county council has promised £237 million from the Surrey Flood Alleviation Programme to support the project.
The scheme involves creating two new river channels alongside the Thames. These channels, along with improvements to existing structures like weirs, will increase the capacity of the Thames through Surrey and south west London.
Alongside the channels will be large areas of green space, new foot and cycle paths, and improved wildlife habitats. The landscape design for these areas will evolve as we engage with local communities.
For more information, visit riverthamesscheme.org.uk.