Afriyie: “It’s quite devastating … my heart really goes out to people.”

There has been no significant worsening of the flood situation in Colnbrook overnight but flood levels continue to rise.  Meanwhile local MP Adam Afriyie has praised the community effort in badly-hit Datchet and Wraysbury.

The 14 Severe Flood Warnings currently active in the Thames Valley

The 14 Severe Flood Warnings currently active in the Thames Valley

Slough Borough Council in a final update last night said neighbourhood enforcement officers had been in Colnbrook throughout the evening, checking on the wellbeing of residents and ensuring vital infrastructure including electricity substations remain protected.

- Environment Agency continue pumping operation in Colnbrook but no significant worsening overnight.
- Datchet community praised for organising itself, supported with 30,000 sandbags.
- Evacuation of Wraysbury homes continues assisted by the Environment Agency and military personnel.
- Paddington line reduced to 20% of services, while Waterloo line remains closed to Windsor.

SBC said it has been liaising regularly with the Parish Council and will continue to do so tomorrow.  However there have been suggestions that the feedback to the parish is a “one-way street” and it is failing to disseminate information back to the community.  The council has asked that residents with problems contact its incident room directly and avoid intermediaries.

TV news channels focused heavily on Datchet and, to a much lesser extent, Wraysbury yesterday.  The BBC stationed a journalist in the middle of the Datchet floodwater for the whole day providing 24-hour coverage!

Dozens of residents in Datchet stationed themselves at Datchet Village Hall in the evening to help with the distribution of sandbags to other areas of The Green using vehicles and wheelbarrows.

Residents in Datchet have been able to collect sandbags from a lorry since mid-morning.  Windsor & Maidenhead council said it had issued 30,000 sandbags but hundreds of people are desperately grabbing what they can as more sandbags arrive.

Windsor & Maidenhead council said it had issued 30,000 sandbags to residents in Datchet yesterday morning, with a further 5,000 understood to have been delivered later in the day.  No sandbags are available to residents in Colnbrook.

It’s quite devastating. I live in Old Windsor and my heart really goes out to people.

Colnbrook and Windsor MP Adam Afriyie went to Datchet to show support for his constituents.  He praised the community-mindedness of residents but, like most ministers of state yesterday, dodged questions relating to the simmering row between the Government and Environment Agency:

… right now we’ve got to focus on making sure that everybody is safe and making sure that premises are as secure as they can be.

There has been growing criticism of the £110m Jubilee River flood protection scheme, opened in 2002, with claims that it has kept Maidenhead homes dry but caused flooding elsewhere in Old Windsor and Wraysbury.

Mr Afriyie says he wants answers:

Residents want to understand what role the Jubilee River and its operation had to play in unfolding events. I will be asking questions of the Environment Agency in due course.

Elsewhere, residents in Staines were woken by telephone flood alerts as the Thames submerged a footpath and began to move towards homes on Laleham Road.

Rail update

Replacement road transport has been organised to operate between Staines and Windsor & Eton Riverside in both directions although these services will not be able to stop at Datchet, Sunnymeads or Wraysbury because of the current road conditions within the immediate area.

Southwest Trains say passengers may use First Great Western services on all reasonable routes and London Underground services between Paddington and Waterloo.  However, following inspections of the track between Paddington and Maidenhead, Network Rail has confirmed that floodwater is likely to affect trackside signalling and safety equipment this morning.

While they work to fix the problem, First Great Western (FGW) will only be able to run four trains an hour between Paddington and Reading in each direction.
This is around a fifth of the services that would normally be scheduled.


Related External Links

Community spirit shines through as Datchet residents pull together to help one another

Jubilee River praised for keeping Maidenhead homes dry

Major train disruption – FGW say ‘not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary’

PM orders ministers to focus on floods not the ‘blame game’

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