A not for profit company limited by guarantee - Registered in England Company No. 09550359The River Thames Floods from the Source to the Sea

The River Thames is liable to flooding, always has been and always will be, BUT . . . .

The future of flood prevention schemes is among the top priorities on which the River Thames Alliance will continue to lobby.

We believe that the best way to ensure that we get the flood policy for the Thames that suits us all best is to make sure that we put a united proposal to the majority Government in Westminster. Achieved by working closely with the Environment Agency and the other major stakeholders that our membership uniquely represents. We are the over-arching body to deliver real results.

We understand in times of flood the ever rising flood water is a frightening thing if you live close to the River Thames. It can cause huge hardship and loss too. The RTA are very closely involved with all Authorities to lower risks via town and country planning policy and liaison with emergency services.

The flood water is a real threat and a danger not only to people and animals but to the economy too. The RTA continue to work with the E.A., the Government, local Authorities and rural Farmers via the NFU to reduce new building on the flood plain, to clear drainage ditches and to improve farming methodologies and education.

All In The Same Boat

Excessive flood water affects rural farmers in many ways, not least the loss of many cattle through drowning. Floods make arable land worthless, affects crops and puts up the food prices for all of us, and so we are all in the same boat on that count.

RTA plan to work with DEFRA to educate young farmers and to try and change the habits of a lifetime with the more mature.

The flood water disrupts in towns and cities quite often nowhere near the river itself. Transport can be disrupted, traffic diverted and even little dogs can be alarmed, not to mention those who have to take them walkies.

Indeed the flood water always leaves a trail of devastation for home, businesses and boat owners too. Sunken homes and sunken boats can be very expensive to replace. Whilst the tears and lost personal momentos can be devastating

The RTA cares about everyone all along the River Thames. We will lobby for you and provide HELP and ADVICE too.

Flooding Video Sonning & Henley Flood Help & Advice Flood Safety
Rodney Rose Oxford  Flood Relief


More Expertise and Influence . . . . . . The RTA Board invited former Oxfordshire County Council Deputy Leader Rodney Rose (below) to attend their RTA Board meeting to discuss his willingness to Lead on coordinating and delivering a series of top level cross boundary conferences, especially flooding. Rodney Rose was heavily involved in leading on the establishment of the Oxford City Floods Relief scheme.

Flooding is a key issue for planning and all future development will need to be considered against locally prepared Strategic Flood Risk Assessments (SFRAs). Section C Planning of the RTA Waterways Plan should therefore be read in conjunction with Section A Flood Risk and Section B Environment too, as they are all entirely inter related

The RTA Waterways Plan supports coordinated action and targeted interventions to protect the river and its tributaries, to protect the natural and the built environment and to protect and enhance the use of the river.

When extra funding is necessary for these purposes, RTA will support arguments for such funding in submissions to Government and will also support the development of partnerships between the public and private sector to facilitate improvements.

This will necessarily rely upon cross boundary linear Thames Development and Planning and is not something that should be left to chance and often in the past uncoordinated. The Localism Act 2011 requires us to work together and for the sake of future generations we must.

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Waterways Plan - ACTION POINTS 2015 /21

SECTION A: Flood Risk Management

1. The current allocation of responsibilities for flood risk management to a number of different

authorities is supported but there should be effective and continuing cooperation between the

parties. RTA will check that the efficacy of this cooperation is tested regularly, in particular by the

Environment Agency.

2. RTA is concerned that the cutbacks in the funding of local authorities and the Environment Agency

will result in a deterioration of the maintenance of existing flood defences. RTA will explore this

issue with the Lead Local Authorities and with the Environment Agency.

3. While supporting the current funding formula for Flood Risk expenditure in principle, RTA will seek

reassurance from Defra that local authorities will be able to secure the necessary funds so that

planned Flood Risk Management projects can go ahead on schedule.

4. Early action must be taken to reassure local communities that the new Flood Risk Management

schemes are being designed and managed to very high standards and that there will be no damage

to communities downstream. In particular RTA will seek reassurance on the matters.

5. RTA will discuss with the National Farmers Union what opportunities exist to retain water higher

up the catchment.

6. Defra will be asked to produce the latest information that is available on development in the flood

plain. If loopholes are identified, RTA will prepare and consult on proposals for tightening the

current arrangements.

7. RTA will encourage the exchange of ideas between the authorities responsible for flood risk

management with a view to developing best practice for raising flood awareness in local communities.

8. RTA will encourage supporters to participate in local consultations about flood awareness

schemes, sign up for the Environment Agency Flood Warning services and promote participation

in local ‘Flood Forums’ and ‘Resilience Forums’.

NOTE: The Waterways Plan is a living evolving document that is subject to change

Certain assumptions have been made.

For the period of the Plan, the Environment Agency is expected to continue as the river authority for the non-tidal Thames and funding is assumed to continue at about its current level.

If these or other assumptions prove to be incorrect, or the effects of the nations BREXIT decision impacts significantly, this living Plan will be revised.

The Waterways Plan will continue to help determine the future policy of RTA and its working groups whilst giving the RTA the necessary authority to lobby and influence the relevant statutory, non-statutory and political bodies.

The success of the new Waterways Plan will depend on effective implementation. Some of these Actions can be progressed but RTA’s capacity is limited and a comprehensive Action Programme is required with RTA supporters coming forward to take on a leadership role in organising implementation of particular parts of the Programme. Working Group Leaders and their related delivery groups - please volunteer.


The Thames is an iconic river and the river basin is home to nearly 20 million people with many more

millions passing through the each year.  Inevitably the river is subject to conflicting demands from

residents, users, tourists, industry, agriculture, sport, and the need to maintain a good environment for

nature as well as for humans. The new Waterways Plan aims to try to resolve and mitigate some of these conflicts and to promise an even better River Thames for all of our future generations.

The RTA it Supporters, Sponsors ad Volunteers will continue to work hard to ensure the success of the Waterways Plan and its 2020 Vision programme.

1.  Continuous consultation on behalf of all Supporters who are affected and who will be aided by the River Thames Scheme covering Datchet to Teddington.   Necessary input putting the consumers/house-holder/trade has been well received by the administrators of the River Thames Scheme.   

Former Oxfordshire Deputy Leader Cllr Rodney Rose has provided his expertise covering the Oxford City Flood Relief Bypass Channel.  The scheme has been allocated £42 million in Flood Risk Management Grant in Aid funding from the government and The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership has also awarded £26 million towards the scheme.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Rose said: “Flooding costs Oxfordshire’s economy around £50m a week each time it happens, and we want to ensure that everyone with an interest in the county works together to tackle this problem. “We will be keeping the Prime Minister’s advisers up-to-date with the discussions we will be having at a flood summit in a few weeks time.”

2.  It is expected that there will be a suitable RTA Flood Group Team Leader appointed very soon, possibly Rodney Rose.    As soon as this happens this working group will take forward all the flood issues.  In the meantime RTA Co Ltd follows    the issues, whilst continuing to work with Parliamentarians, the E.A.  and local authority officers.

3.  It is understood that the River Thames Scheme is still short of all of the required funding.   It is expected that EA will go to the Treasury to get the sign off for the River Thames Scheme and it is expected that the necessary funds will all be available in time.  Meanwhile Surrey County Council are leading the challenge to find the funding. It is expected that the scheme will go to planning in 2018 and that work will commence on rebuilding the three weirs in 2019.

4. River Thames Alliance have been very vocal in ensuring that the Thames Barrier will continue to be operational should it be necessary to ensure that the barrier is used to allow the flood water to drain into the tidal Thames whilst the barrier is closed.  It is understood that this will continue until 2037.

5.  River Thames Alliance has initiated a plan to assist the National Farmers Union and the Environment Agency to hold flood water in the upper reaches.   It was floated under the working title of “5 Birds - One Stone” at the first All Party Parliamentary Group meeting and was well received.  The National Farmers Union is now represented on the RTA Co Ltd Board as one of their expert advisors.

6. Awaiting DEFRA

7. Directors and Rodney Rose are currently considering working on a specific plan for organising Cross Boundary Local Authority Flood Workshops . Funding such meetings on a free of charge basis is proving an initial challenge.

8. As part of River Thames Alliance Co Ltd objectives we continue to monitor the entire flood situation.   Several flood committee chairs are River Thames Alliance Co Ltd Supporters.

NOTE: The above update is correct as of July 2017. E. & O. E.

ACTION UPDATES AND NEWS- SECTION 1 FLOODING A Five Birds One Stone August 2016 V.pdf