RIVERS throughout Cirencester and the Cotswolds could be cleaned out after a deal was struck between Gloucestershire County Council and the Environment Agency.

Over the next month, the council will work with the Environment Agency to find areas of river, such as inadequate culvers and blockages, which are in desperate need of being de-silted.

The deal came about following a meeting held on Friday, February 7 in which Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for flooding, and Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson met with officials from the Environment Agency to discuss flooding issues in the county.

Cllr Vernon Smith described the deal as “a great step forward” and said it will make a real difference to homes and businesses in the county.

“This deal means that de-silting and other measure to cut the risk of flooding will now take place on those rivers that are likely to flood,” he said.

“I’ve been pushing to protect Gloucestershire homes since I was elected. The council has put £48million into flood protection since 2007.”

Cllr David Broad (Con, Chedworth) recently told the Standard that the only way that Cirencester can be made flood free is if the bottom of the River Churn is cleared out.

He said: “I believe that the bottom of the river needs to be cleared – that is what keeps causing the floods.

“The Environment Agency needs to increase the amount of flowing water that the Churn can handle. If they solved the problem of the water in the river, then Thames Water’s problem of river water entering the sewer would go straight away.”

Cllr Broad pointed out that his constituency of Chedworth has not flooded since 2007 after measures were put in place to deepen the bottom of the River Coln, which runs close to the village.

Laurence Robertson and Vernon Smith are set to meet with the Owen Patterson, Secretary of State for Environment, to put forward Gloucestershire’s case for flood investment.

For more information, visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk.