Guildford Flood Alleviation Scheme

Closes 29 Dec 2027

Opened 2 Feb 2024

Overview

Introduction

The Environment Agency, Guildford Borough Council, and Surrey County Council are working together to find a sustainable flood risk management scheme for Guildford town centre.

The scheme will: 

  • improve the natural environment   
  • build better connections between Guildford town centre and the River Wey

Guildford has a long history of flooding from the River Wey. Significant floods have caused damage to homes and businesses. They have also disrupted vital infrastructure such as roads and utilities.

The risk of flooding in Guildford will get worse with climate change . It is only a matter of time before we see another serious flood.

We want to develop a sustainable long-term flood risk management scheme that will:

  • reduce flood risk 
  • help Guildford’s communities to adapt to climate change

The Guildford flood alleviation scheme (FAS) will: 

  • reduce flood risk to the town centre
  • benefit residents  
  • keep the city open for business in times of flood and help maintain Guildford’s thriving economy.

Working in partnership with Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council

Guildford Borough Council are developing plans to regenerate Guildford town centre.

These plans will: 

  • enhance the riverside environment and improve accessibility
  • make Guildford a more attractive place to live, work and visit

This work has been shaped by extensive community stakeholder engagement.

You can see Shaping Guildford’s Future website for further details.

The proposed flood alleviation scheme will support Guildford Borough Council in their aspirations to meet the current and future needs of the community.

We have also been working with Surrey County Council to make sure the scheme helps to meet wider Surrey County Council objectives.

Progress to date

In 2018, we held public drop-in sessions at Guildford Borough Council’s Millmead offices where we shared our early scheme proposals. These proposals included an option to reduce flood risk by putting flood walls and embankments within the north end of the town centre.

Following feedback, the Environment Agency have:

  • examined other different options to manage flood risk  
  • looked at how these options might better protect Guildford town centre
  • worked hard to find an approach that does not transfer flood risk elsewhere and meets Guildford Borough Council’s aspirations

Working with Guildford Borough Council, we have expanded the scope of our assessment to make sure flood risk is reduced to as much of the town centre as possible.

You can view latest proposals on the Guildford Borough Council Town Centre website. They are included in the Guildford Borough Council Town Centre Masterplan Stage 2 Report.

Get involved

In early 2024, we will be sharing further information and seeking feedback. We want to understand and consider your views as the scheme progresses. 

We will need your local knowledge and experience and want to understand your priorities to make sure we create a scheme that everyone can value and benefit from.

Look out for our upcoming events.

Next steps

During 2024, we will work with partners, landowners, businesses and communities to better understand local requirements and, where possible, build them into the scheme.  

We will make sure any proposals will work to manage the flood risk while not increasing flood risk elsewhere.

As we develop the scheme further, we will carry out activities that will improve our understanding of the area and its natural environment. These activities include:

  • ground investigation 
  • topographic surveys
  • environmental surveys

At the same time, we will look out for opportunities to enhance the natural environment.

The scheme will bring additional environmental benefits to the area.  We are considering whether fish passes should be included at Unstead and St Catherine’s weirs upstream of Guildford. This will improve fish passage along the River Wey.

We will look at how to sustainably manage surface water flood risk by working with:  

  • Guildford Borough Council
  • Surrey County Council (the lead local flood authority) 
  • Thames Water

When we have collected this information and considered your feedback, we will combine these findings to develop an option that balances the needs of the community.

Timescales and funding

We are moving into the next stage of the project, where we will carry out further detailed assessments, surveys and engagement. We expect this stage to last at least 2 to 3 years.

Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council have already contributed financially to help develop the scheme. The scheme can only be built once funding has been secured. This is likely to use a combination of funding from:

  • central government (Grant in Aid)
  • Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee
  • local councils
  • others that benefit from the scheme

We will be able to establish scheme costs when we have developed a plan for the scheme.   

Temporary flood barriers

We have temporary flood barriers available. We have identified an area around Mary Road and William Road in Guildford where we might be able use the barriers in the right circumstances. We used temporary flood barriers in December 2019 and February 2020 when flows in the River Wey were high. This helped to reduce flood risk to properties in the area.

Contact

Please email Guildfordfloodscheme@environment-agency.gov.uk if you would like further information about the scheme.

Audiences

  • Members of the public

Interests

  • Flood management