I felt a great sense of relief last week when I visited the areas of the constituency which were threatened with the flooding that devastated so many other areas of the country. Thankfully, despite the early signs and environment agency warnings, we escaped!
The floods of 2003 remain seared in our memories and the fear – that similar damage and heartache would be felt – was lifted when residents breathed a huge sigh of relief as it became clear that, although the Thames had burst its banks further up river, it would not surge into local homes and businesses.
The Jubilee River relief scheme has certainly had its critics in recent years but this year it appeared to do its job reasonably well by preventing flooding in Eton, Windsor and Maidenhead. The people of the lower Thames region, however, do not enjoy the same level of protection and it was largely good luck which enabled the near escape.
Despite the good fortune in Datchet, Horton, Wraysbury and Old Windsor, I think the point has been brought home to us all that flooding continues to be a real and present danger to our area. So, last week in Parliament, I asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hilary Benn MP, if he would re-examine the case for a flood protection scheme for the lower Thames region. Sadly, Mr Benn declined to answer my question directly, but I am determined to fight for proper flood protection for our area sooner rather than later.
My thanks go to those who are supporting me in these efforts. The fight goes on!