High tides in Twickenham
High tides in Twickenham
Water. Bloody brilliant, isn’t it? You can drink it, give it to plants, take a shower in it and even heat it up to help make a Pot Noodle. Apparently, some people use it in toilets in their homes rather than use their neighbour’s garden. Fascinating. H2O, it really is a versatile element. It’s the perfect combination of oxygen and, err, helium. And with all that helium it’s no wonder that if you drink too much of it – in the form of beer – then you end up talking in a silly squeaky voice. Older readers may recall hydrogen being used as the preferred ingredient for water but, after the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, this was deemed too dangerous for public consumption. Despite its uses, water’s not so good when there’s absolutely loads of it – and mucky stuff at that – and it gets into your carpet or your parked car. We’ve seen it happen and when it does it’s called flooding and flooding can be right royal pain.

Flooding has many causes. It’s often caused by too much rain or by high tides or by leaving the bath running. Often it’s a combination of all three. And of course if you live in Henley it can be caused by David Silvester the local UKIP councillor writing to complain to David Cameron who’s just got a gay marriage… to a man. His letter was, of course, just vanity publishing because Cameron and his Oxfordshire chums live upstream from Henley which meant that the flooding that Cameron caused was targeted specifically at David Silvester himself in Henley. That bloke off of UKIP clearly needs to buy some wellies and be more careful about what he wishes for, or at least go and stay with people he doesn’t like when he pens his letters.

But Twickenham lies downstream from Henley which means Cameron’s marriage has also put us at risk too. Combine that with the Thames here being tidal and it’s double trouble. And that is why Richmond Council are consulting on a ‘local flood risk management strategy’. As El Brute say on their website: “We have a duty to coordinate flood risk management within the borough to ensure that local flood risks are identified and managed. We are required by law to develop a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, which will explain how we will be achieving this”. That’s good. Or is it?

Richmond Council often brags about being the only London borough that straddles the Thames but this has now come back to bite them, big time. For any other Borough along the river, the flood management solution is simple: build a wall on your side of the river a tiny bit higher than the wall on the opposite bank and hey presto, problem solved. If you’re Hammersmith & Fulham you build your wall up and it’s a case of bye bye Wandsworth, and so on. But Richmond Council can’t do this. They would need to build walls on both sides of the river. It wouldn’t take long before the Council was at war with itself which is not allowed because it’s against United Nations regulations. It would also be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

To solutionise other options, Richmond Council are asking for your views on flood risks in the borough, whether you’ve suffered from flooding and whether you’re prepared for the next one. Are you? It probably won’t ask if you hang around at the end of Water Lane or Church Lane waiting for cars to fill up with water so that you can take photos and post them on Twitter because that’s already being well managed by local residents. There’s even a survey too. The deadline is 28th February. That is all.

* El Brute Flood Strategy Consultation

Flooding by St Mary's Church
Flooding by St Mary’s Church