News story

Environmental impact assessment June 2017: River Thames Scheme

We have submitted our Environmental Scoping Report to local authorities who will be asked to provide a scoping opinion.

River Thames Scheme logo

Introduction

The River Thames between Datchet and Teddington has the largest area of undefended, developed floodplain in England. Over 15,000 homes and businesses within the area are at risk from flooding.

The River Thames Scheme will reduce the risk of flooding to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure (roads, sewerage network and power supplies).

We need a range of solutions to manage the risk of flooding in the River Thames Scheme area and so the scheme consists of:

  • construction of 17 kilometres of new flood channel built in 3 sections
  • capacity improvements to the weirs at Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington
  • community resilience measures
  • major incident planning
  • habitat creation.

Environmental impact assessment

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) establishes how things are now (the environmental baseline) and assesses the impacts that the scheme is likely to have on this.

It will consider all the likely significant impacts that could result from the scheme and will look at ways to avoid or minimise these impacts, as well as ways to improve the local environment.

The EIA will be documented in an Environmental Statement, which will be submitted with the planning application to inform the planning decision.

We will capture all the ways to avoid or minimise impacts in an Environmental Action Plan, which will be implemented throughout the construction phase of the project.

Environmental Statement

The first stage of producing an Environmental Statement is to develop an Environmental Scoping Report which will be presented to external consultees for comment in the summer.

The Scoping Report provides a summary of the existing environment, considers how the environment could be effected by the Scheme and whether these effects are likely to be significant. Such considerations include landscape, cultural heritage, ecology, noise, water environment and human beings.

Scoping opinion

The scoping report is submitted to the Local Authorities as part of the planning process, who will be asked to provide a scoping opinion under the Town and County Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations. They will consider if we have included all the likely significant impacts that could result from the scheme, which will set the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

They are likely to consult with other organisations and government departments in order to form this opinion. This is not a formal public consultation at this stage and comments are not requested from members of the public. Comments from the public will be captured during the planning application process in 2018.

Environmental and Ecological Surveys

As part of our work to manage our environmental impact we are carrying out further ecological and environmental surveys this year. A range of species will be targeted in these surveys, including bats (and their roosts), water voles, breeding birds, otter, great crested newts and species of reptiles.

Archaeological surveys are planned to commence in summer 2017, and will involve metal detecting, radar surveys and borehole sampling. The results of these surveys will help us identify targeted locations for trial trenches, in late 2017, to evaluate archaeology.

If you would like more information about the surveys we are conducting please visit our website

Environment Agency June 2017

Published 10 August 2017