River Thames Scheme public consultation is now live!

The River Thames between Egham and Teddington is one of the largest areas of undefended, developed floodplain in England. In the past, the area has suffered serious floods. With climate change, the risk of flooding is only going to grow. We need a long term, sustainable plan to deal with this risk. That plan is the River Thames Scheme.

The River Thames Scheme (RTS) is a multi-agency partnership, with development led by the Environment Agency and Surrey County Council. The scheme is part of the Environment Agency’s wider flood management strategy along the River Thames. It is also part of Surrey County Council’s county-wide flood resilience strategy.

The new flood channel

The River Thames Scheme will consist of a new flood channel in two sections, through the boroughs of Runnymede and Spelthorne in Surrey. In addition, there will be increases in capacity at three weirs and the Desborough Cut.

Map overview of the scheme View full-size image


  • A new river channel built in two sections – at Runnymede and at Spelthorne
  • Improvements to existing river structures
  • New recreation areas for communities and habitat for wildlife

These measures will better protect thousands of homes and businesses, enhance the natural environment around the river, and boost the local economy.

Video: Overview of the scheme

Find out what RTS are doing to reduce the risk of flooding along the River Thames in Surrey.

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Find out what we’re doing to reduce the risk of flooding along the River Thames in Surrey.

Progress so far

Project of national significance status confirmed

The large scale of the project means the government directed that it be treated as a project of national significance in December 2020. Other examples of projects of national significance might be a wind farm, airport expansion or new rail line.

Projects of national significance require a type of consent known as ‘development consent order’ (DCO). A DCO removes the need to obtain many separate consents, including planning permission and is designed to be a quicker process than applying for these separately. The DCO must be granted before full funding is approved and construction can begin.

Design development

We’re currently in the pre-application stage, meaning we’re doing all the work ready to make the application. The final scope and design of the project, which we will ultimately prepare a development consent application for, is yet to be fully determined. It will be shaped by technical, environmental and economic factors alongside consultation feedback.

Benefits of the scheme

Protecting communities
11,000 homes and 1,600 businesses better protected from flooding

Enhancing our Thames
New opportunities for recreation, tourism, and wildlife

Securing our economy
Supporting sustainable economic growth

The River Thames Scheme represents a new landscape-based approach to creating healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable communities by reducing the risk of flooding and creating high quality natural environments. RTS want to hear from you: Consultation information,

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Last Updated on November 20, 2022 by Kingston Society