It was agreed at the Cirencester Flood Meeting, organised by Cotswolds MP Sir Geoffrey-Clifton-Brown and held on the 24th November, that the Fairford Water and Sewage Issues Joint Working Group would be formed. It was also agreed that Kempsford Parish Council would be involved given that the Coln flows from Fairford down through Kempsford Parish to the Thames.
As a result of that decision and the pressure applied by Sir Geoffrey, the first meeting of the Working Group was held on 15th January. This meeting focussed on the impact of the outfall from the Fairford STW which had been operating continuously since 3rd December 2023 and the fact that, with the recent heavy rain, the Coln had broken its banks and was flowing into the Courtbrook and into one of the adjacent Lakes, a lake that has SSSI protected status.
Also discussed was the “tankering” of waste from a foul waste tank in Kempsford which was being taken to the Fairford STW, rather than the Kempsford STW as Thames Water policy would normally dictate, adding to the volumes discharged from the Fairford STW into the Coln. A presentation was given on the work being undertaken by Thames Water to reduce the amount of surface water entering the sewer system, e.g. in Horcott, a matter raised by a Horcott resident with the MP during the recent by-election campaign.
The impact of future development in Fairford was also discussed and it was agreed that the modelling data underpinning Thames Water’s assessment of the capacity of sewer system required more detailed explanation. It was also agreed that the reason for tankers from Kempsford to be discharging at the Fairford STW would be investigated by Thames Water.
A further meeting of the Working Group has been scheduled for the 25th March 2024 in order to take these matters forward and to discuss whether there is a need to control water flows across The Lakes given different ownerships and their interconnection in order to prevent/control flood risk.
Commenting Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said:
“As a result of our half-yearly flooding meetings putting pressure on the relevant officials, I am delighted that the follow-up is now taking place, and I welcome that this proposal made at the flood meeting in November has meant we’ve got this group formed and is being taken forward by local communities, with Thames Water and the Environment Agency. Hopefully, this will lead to a solution to these problems.
“But of course, I remain ready to support it to ensure there is real progress, and will be more than willing to examine the problems if they have not been solved at the next flooding meeting.”