How can we reduce flooding in north Reading and Lower Caversham?

Closed 26 Jul 2018

Opened 26 Jun 2018

Results updated 18 Oct 2018

The Environment Agency is working with partners to investigate options to reduce flooding from the River Thames in north Reading and Lower Caversham. Our initial investigations identified 3 potential options. Through this consultation we sought to obtain the local community’s initial views to help decide which, if any, of these options we should take forward to detailed design.

We ran this consultation from 26 June until 26 July 2018 and to support it, our staff were present at 3 public drop-ins during this period.

We received 185 responses, either through the consultation site, delivered to our offices, or emailed to us at reading& Individual responses have been published here, where permission has been given.

We asked for your views on the following options:

Option 1. Flood walls and embankments from Nire Road to Christchurch playing fields.

Option 2. Flood walls and embankments from Nire Road to Promenade Road, including some temporary defences.

Option 3. Flood walls and embankments from Nire Road to Promenade Road and Waterman Place to Reading Bridge.

Option 4. No new work, to continue with existing work which includes maintaining rivers and streams and operating weirs and locks

High level findings 

  • From the responses we received during this consultation, the favoured option was Option 4, to do no new work. 55% of respondents prioritised this option above the 3 suggested alignments of flood walls and embankments. A high proportion of respondents who favoured Option 4 were from outside the immediate project area and would not see a reduction in their flood risk.
  • Many respondents wanted more information before commenting on the proposals. This included the effect of any proposal on communities outside the project area, the appearance and impact of flood walls or embankments and the impact of construction on the local environment.
  • Of the options we presented for improving flood protection, we received similar levels of support for Options 1 and 2, with Option 3 the least preferred.
  • Lower walls were generally favoured, even if this means a lower standard of flood protection. 42% of respondents preferred not to answer this question.

Other feedback provided by this consultation

  • We received relatively few responses from postcodes within the project area, particularly in Lower Caversham and north Reading.
  • Some communities were not aware of our consultation, or did not receive our communications on the drop-ins.

Next steps

We have decided to re-evaluate the options and carry out more detailed design work. This will allow us to provide the more detailed information that so many respondents have asked for. It will also give us the opportunity to take into consideration the feedback we have already received. We would also like to ensure we gain the views of all affected communities through further engagement.

We will hold a further consultation when this information is available and keep residents informed on progress through regular newsletters and direct engagement.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.



North Reading and Lower Caversham have flooded many times in recent years. In 2012 and 2014, homes and businesses in low lying areas of Caversham flooded and in 2003, many houses were surrounded by floodwater and a number of roads were closed to vehicles, some for as long as 5 days.

We are  working with partners to investigate how we could reduce flooding from the River Thames in north Reading and Lower Caversham. We have identified a number of options all of which need further investigation to decide which, if any, we could take forward.

We would like to hear your views on the options we have been investigating as well as general feedback to help make sure we have considered all possible options before developing a design.

The proposals will not eliminate the risk of flooding, only lessen it.


Why your views matter

We have been looking at how we can reduce flooding from the River Thames to north Reading and Lower Caversham. We have found a number of different options that could reduce flooding, each one benefits slightly different areas and each has challenges which we need to overcome.

We would like your views on which, if any of the options we have been investigating you think we should take forward. We would also like to know if you have any other ideas that we have not considered.

We will use the results of the consultation in combination with technical information, practical restrictions, funding available and required approvals when deciding how we will reduce flooding in north Reading and Lower Caversham.

What happens next

We will consider all of the following information and use it together to make a decision on which, if any of the options we will take forward.

Landowners wishes, as shared through results of this consultation, feedback from individual meetings and feedback from the landowner drop-in held on the 26 June 2018.

Public views, as shown by the results of this consultation and feedback gathered at our public drop-ins. 
Planning application requirements and recommendations.
Technical restrictions. When we develop the detail of the design we may discover physical restrictions that have not shown up during our initial investigations, these could include space available for construction, size of foundations required, archaeological findings, endangered species, to name a few. Any such findings could mean that we have to change the detail of the option or even consider a different, previously discounted option.
Cost of the proposal and funding available. The project would be partly funded by central government, but there is still a need to find more funding, for example from organisations and businesses that will benefit.
•The time it will take to design, build and construct
Maintenance. We would need to agree who would be responsible for maintaining any new structures before putting a new structure in place.
Wildlife and landscape. If we develop an option then wildlife and landscape will be taken into consideration, and where possible we will look to improve landscape and habitat. We will always mitigate for any habitat and species that has been unavoidably impacted as a result of work we do to reduce flooding. 

The display mateial from our public drop-in, detailed maps of the flood walls and embankments and a Word response form can be found in the Related section below.

If you are experiencing any difficulties responding online please contact us at reading&



  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Land owners
  • Members of the public
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Environment Agency colleagues
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Members of the public
  • Town and parish councils


  • Flood management