Thursday, 24 June 2021

RAF called in to look at extent of water

HELICOPTER crews from RAF Benson were called out by the Government last week to identify the areas worst hit by the flooding.

Flight Lieutenant Tim Barry, of 33 Squadron, said: “Two aircraft were tasked and flew to a number of different locations within the Thames Valley to carry out airborne reconnaissance and observe how the flood and relief operation had progressed.

“The task also helped identify those areas most at risk and in need of further aid.”

Among the villages affected was Hurley, where the high street was closed due to floodwater.

David Burfitt, who runs Hurleyford Farm caravan park in Mill Lane, said: “Happily we were not affected as badly as other places such as Windsor. A few houses had their basements flooded and the Olde Bell had to close.

“Mainly it has been an inconvenience because of High Street being closed. We had to use a private road for the caravan park to get people in and out.

“As far as I know we haven’t seen the Environment Agency. The RAF and fire brigade responded but unfortunately the crisis had passed by the time they turned up.”

Hurley resident Iain Cook said his house narrowly avoided being flooded.

He said: “It came on to the lawn and I had to pump it clear but it didn’t go in the house. It’s one of the things you learn when you work and live on the river — you build well above flood level. I know I will occasionally get flooded living here but that’s my choice.”

Mr Cook, who runs Cook Piling, which works on the Henley reach of the Thames for the royal regatta, dismissed claims that the floods had been made worse by the river not being dredged regularly.

He said: “People shouldn’t be criticising the Environment Agency as dredging doesn’t make any difference.

“When you have the amount of water we do at the moment it’s way in excess of what the weirs can carry and it will go around them because water always finds the easiest route.

“If you don’t want to be flooded, the only answer is not to live in, on or near the flood plain.”

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