(e-mails received from Roy Wassell of Shepperton – 25/7/2007 and 30/7/07)
I have tried many times (without success) to draw attention to the 'hill fort' jutting into the Thames at Sunbury.
This was built by the Thames Conservancy to house maintenance sheds presumably using river dredgings. It was subsequently acquired by the Environment Agency who developed the site massively.
I was sent a copy of the flood map (based on the massive floods of 1947) for the area when the Thames Conservancy objected in about 1978 to the rebuilding of my house. Permission was eventually granted on appeal.
It seemed clear to me, at the time, from the Thames Conservancy coloured map that the flooding in Shepperton was made very much worse by their huge man-made peninsula in Sunbury.
Having been a neighbour from hell to the residents around them for several years and having lost their enthusiasm for maintenance, the Environment Agency have now applied to develop many houses on this site - about the only place around safe from flooding.
I have heard that the Environment Agency have indicated that they do not expect the present surge to continue beyond Shepperton.
It would be interesting to see an up to date flood map when the flood waters reach Shepperton.
I always thought that the earthworks were a bit of empire building. I am now wondering if they were a deliberate attempt to reduce flooding in the towns down stream at the expense of their smaller neighbours.
The Environment Agency site shows up well on Google Earth. To the South, the Thames has no flood plain as it is running along the southern edge of the Thames glacial plain. To the north The E.A. site has been levelled up all the way back to Fordbridge Road i.e. right across the flood plain.
(Further details received from Roy 30/7/2007 (flood threat diminishing) - after request for further information)
As far as I can make out the centre of the
site is about
51 degrees 23minutes 58seconds north
0 degrees 25 minutes 0 seconds west
But its a big site, just upstream of Lower Sunbury and opposite Walton
Leisure Centre on the opposite bank.
Having moved all our stuff upstairs from the garden and the garage I have
been waiting in vain for the expected flood waters.
That is a tremendous relief and obviously ( under pressure ) the E.A. have
pulled out all the stops to get rid of the water.
That begs the question : If it can be done in these extreem circumstances
could earlier floods and damage have been avoided by more prompt and better
Everything seems to be driven by knee-jerk responses.
What we seem to lack is an emergency relief system such as you would find in
an industrial plant with weirs opened automatically in accordance with pre
determined parameters in response to rainfall and water level telemetry
signals from the whole river to a central control room with a responsible
engineer on duty 24/7.
I think it is also essential that from now on all drainage installation and
replacement is carried out on the basis of complete separation of
groundwater and sewage and the sealing of all sewage systems. That way the ground water systems, often in open culverts could be built bigger and more cheaply.
That would be a start anyway.