I want to discuss the importance of flood alleviation and my work across Woking and our villages to ensure we have appropriate measures where they are needed. 

Many readers will be aware from my MP surveys and literature that securing funding for local flood alleviation schemes is a key priority of my plan for Woking – a plan that is, in turn, shaped by the priorities of Woking residents.

We have recently enjoyed some wonderfully sunny, if unseasonal, weather, but before too long winter will be upon us, together with the possibility of storms or particularly heavy rainfall.

For most of us this is a fact of life and an occasional inconvenience, but in certain parts of our borough it brings a very real threat of flooding, not only of our roads but also of homes or of business premises.

Residents in Kingfield are now largely protected from this threat.

I was a strong supporter of the excellent Hoe Valley flood alleviation scheme that has protected literally hundreds of homes in the local area from flooding for more than a decade now, and which has also delivered huge environmental benefits by cleaning up the old tip and by providing new parkland and nature habitats.

But other local areas are not so fortunate. 

Flooding can turn lives upside down, with just the threat of it causing immense worry for those at risk. Moreover, the impacts of climate change are expected to include much heavier winter rainfall in England and therefore an increased prospect of flooding incidents  

The UK government has published a flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy roadmap that outlines how it plans to manage flood risk in England over the next few years. 

The strategy includes measures such as investing in new flood defences, improving existing defences and working with communities to develop local flood plans. 

I am pleased the government has also set up a £5.2 billion investment programme for flood defences across our country over the next six years.

One place that needs better defences is the Sanway area of Byfleet. I recently had the opportunity to invite and welcome the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey MP, to Byfleet village to look at the proposed site for the Byfleet flood alleviation scheme, which will help to protect more than 200 properties from flooding. 

I was delighted the secretary of state fully recognised the importance of the scheme, together with the environmental benefits for nature and wildlife that are also planned in as an integral part of this initiative. 

Unfortunately, Woking Borough Council can no longer help to part-fund this scheme, so I am in very close contact with both Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency to assess all the possible ways in which it might still be delivered in full and as originally envisioned. 

Together with the local flood group and local councillors such as Amanda Boote, Surrey County Council and the Environment Agency have been wonderful partners in this scheme to date and we now hope they can go the extra mile to help get it over the line. 

I will not rest until it is fully funded and delivered in full.

At my Woking office I hold regular flood forum meetings with Horsell Residents’ Association and stakeholders such as Thames Water and the Horsell Common Preservation Society, as we work together to improve drainage in certain areas adjacent to Horsell Common. 

The fantastic new ponds on Horsell Common will also help other areas, such as parts of Maybury, by holding more water on the common. 

I have also founded and then chaired a flood forum for each of my constituency villages of Normandy and Pirbright over the past 12 years, sorting out more than 60 different flooding issues during that period of time.

Ensuring that, wherever possible, our communities have the right infrastructure in place to better protect against flooding is a top priority of mine – and I know residents affected really appreciate the flood prevention efforts of our key councils and stakeholders.