In the Windsor constituency we are well aware of the devastating impact that floods can have on people homes, lives and livelihoods.
Almost every winter the River Thames swells and our flood defences are tested. Three years ago we watched with alarm as the gauges on the Thames reached the highest levels recorded since their introduction as we were hit by serious winter floods.
Across the Thames Valley hundreds of homes were flooded and thousands of sandbags were laid down as emergency barriers.
The silver-lining to this awful episode was seeing the community come together. Hundreds of volunteers helped expedite the evacuation of the most vulnerable residents. In Windsor we received a suitably regal response in the form of Princes William and Harry helping lay out sandbags in Datchet.
Whilst the community spirit shown by so many volunteers was fantastic, the impact of the flooding on ordinary families was heart breaking at times.
Thankfully, we are better prepared now than ever before to defend against future floods. Our local authorities have invested in immediate measures to mitigate the excesses of the overflow and the project to complete the relief channel has been funded and adopted by the Government. In years to come we will have some of the most resilient flood defences in the country to keep our homes and businesses safe from the elements.
Nonetheless, proper flood defences are about more than robust infrastructure. It is also about widespread public awareness. Residents must be aware of the relative risk of flooding in their area and know how to act if the worst happens.
Accordingly, Conservative-led Governments have provided an unparalleled level of information to help people find out what the risk of flooding is in their local area.
I would encourage people to check their flood risk today by clicking here because it is more common than many people suspect and 1 in 6 homes are at risk.
A lot has already been done to raise awareness of the dangers of winter flooding in recent years both in Parliament and with the public in flood prone areas.
Only recently my Senior Caseworker attended an event by Flood Re, a joint initiative between Government and the insurance industry to make insurance available and affordable to all homes affected by flooding. Flood Re expects up to 350,000 households may benefit in the form of more affordable flood insurance.
This year the Environment Agency is once again running its excellent #floodaware campaign. I would encourage everyone to get involved and spread the message amongst their friends and family.
You can rest assured that I will continue to represent the interests of Windsor constituents in Parliament and ensure a fair deal for flood defences in the Thames Valley.
You have my very best wishes for a dry, safe and happy winter.
- Adam Afriyie MP has supported better flood defences since becoming MP for Windsor in 2005.