A FLOOD defence scheme costing £15.5 million is being installed to protect homes in Byfleet as part of wider plans to improve the areas around the River Wey.

The Sanway-Byfleet Flood Alleviation Scheme is being developed jointly by the Environment Agency, Woking Borough Council, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Surrey County Council, Byfleet Flood Forum and the local community.

It is intended to reduce flooding for up to 153 properties, using a combination of walls and embankments. The work is expected to be completed by 2024.

The Byfleet Flood Forum was formed by borough councillors Amanda Boote and John Bond after the 2013-14 floods caused by heavy rain and the rising River Wey damaged around 80 homes in the Byfleet area.

This followed a long history of flooding, including one in September 1968 with significant damage to properties along the river.

A workshop in January this year attended by Cllr Boote, local residents, landowners, environmental experts, the Environment Agency and local council officers produced several ideas.

These included the creation of a footpath from Byfleet Road to RHS Wisley; a mosaic of wetland habitats; improving fish passage in the River Wey; lowering water levels at Byfleet Mill and an attempt to reintroduce the water vole to Surrey.

The Environment Agency is now discussing these plans with landowners and residents.

The agency told residents in a newsletter that it will contact them in the next few months to provide more detailed information on its proposals and give them the opportunity to have their say on them.

“Although we aim to reduce flood risk, we cannot remove it entirely. We work to help individuals and communities prepare themselves for flooding, by providing information to those who need it. You can find out more about what to do before, during and after a flood by visiting www.gov.uk/prepare-for-flooding/futureflooding.

“If you see blockages in the river channel which pose an immediate flood risk, report this to our incident line on 0800 807060,” the agency said.

To contact the Environment Agency, call 03708 506506 or email [email protected].