Plans for the River Thames Scheme, a major programme of flood defences and projects, continue to develop and we have already secured £250 million in funding.
As a local MP and the Prime Minister’s Flood Envoy for the Thames Valley, I’m delighted the Government has committed significant funding to the Scheme, but further investment is still needed to address additional costs, including landfill tax and optimism bias.
I recently attended a productive meeting with representatives from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Surrey County Council, which was an opportunity to review the EA’s updated cost figures. Landfill tax is clearly an area of concern, but there are a significant number of other issues which will affect the overall projected cost, both positively and negatively.
Following our meeting, we are all confident that the financing of the project remains broadly on track and, as planned, we will continue to seek additional contributions from businesses, LEPs and others. In the meantime, the engineering and design work for the project are progressing.
As I have said previously, I stand ready to approach the Treasury if, as the project progresses, it becomes clear that the landfill tax will be an impediment to full funding.