Flood diversion coming to Weybridge

Flood Relief Channel Discharging at Weybridge

Flood Relief Channel Discharging At Weybridge

Work on the Lower Thames Flood Relief Scheme, along the river between Datchet and Teddington, is due to start in 2019. The announcement on 2 December by Phillip Hammond, including an extra £60 million to help fund the work, may be met with mixed views in Weybridge.

The plans include digging three flood channels to relieve flooding upstream of Weybridge – with the third of these discharging its flood flow into the Thames right on our doorstep, opposite D’Oyly Carte Island and Desborough Island. To stop Weybridge being flooded by the excess water, the Environment Agency plans to widen the Desborough Channel, by cutting into the riverside next to the Thames Path (and, in some places, beneath the current path).

We do not know what the riverside and the Thames Path will look like when the work is finished, or how many months of closure it will involve. Local concerns over these plans have been shared at all the public consultations – where we were told that dredging the Desborough Channel to increase flow had been rejected because it would ‘disturb the habitat of bottom-feeding fish’, and would have to be repeated as the river silted up again.

PP&DRA is seeking detail of the latest plans.

You can view a policy paper outlining the proposed scheme here. The paper was updated  on 11 November 2014. View a map of the proposed Lower Thames Flood Relief Scheme here.

Work on the downstream stretches will start first, with dredging around the weirs at Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington, presumably followed soon after by widening the Desborough Channel, before work starts on the upstream flood relief channels.

In theory, relief channels should extend the floodplain, help absorb peak flows and (up to a point) release them relatively slowly.

The Environment Agency has maintained that increased flooding in recent years between Datchet and Chertsey has not been caused by the Jubilee River. This is a seven mile long flood relief channel which starts at Maidenhead and discharges at Datchet, and has proved effective in helping reduce flooding in Maidenhead, Eton and Windsor.

Meanwhile, Datchet, along with its downstream neighbours Wraysbury, Egham, Staines and Chertsey, has suffered increased flooding. Perhaps this is just an unhappy coincidence.

Residents of these towns will understandably welcome new flood relief channels to divert floodwater and discharge it downstream (at Weybridge).  “It’s fantastically good news, it means the scheme will now go ahead,” said Mr Hammond, announcing the extra funding.

Read how the local press reported the news

SEE ALSO:  Will the River Thames Scheme increase flood risk downstream?
                            Questions from PPDRA

UPDATE:     Interim Answers From The Environment Agency

OPINION:   Thames Flood Diversion: Time For A Rethink? 


  1. M. P. Thomas says

    There,s no point in widening the Desborough channel when the bridges at either end are not being altered. This will increase the flow through the bridges and present a risk to boating by the local rowing and canoe clubs. Note there are junior girls and boys from the local clubs and schools that boat on this stretch of the Thames . M .P. Thomas

  2. Dashiell Rae says

    The Thames Path across from Desborough Island is the main focal point of outdoor recreational activity for many in Weybridge – especially on the weekends. The river is already very busy with fisherman, cruisers, rowing boats, sailboats, canoes, runners, dog walkers, hikers, ferries, and many other recreational pursuits enjoyed by children and adults alike. Not to mention the many regattas / running / sporting events held on this stretch of the river throughout the year. Dumping thousands of gallons of water would make the rowing and canoe clubs virtually unusable from Oct – March. Plus the diversionary reworking of the towpath would completely alter what is now a beautiful walk along the river, and be one coming too close to the traffic of Walton Lane. Lastly, if the erosion becomes far worse than originally conceived and the amount of water being dumped into the Thames increases over time what will happen?? Answer: Walton Lane will get flooded, cars will be diverted, roads closed, roads torn up and pot holed. Already narrow and prone to flooding this does not appear to bea well-conceived plan…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *