The Environment Agency are to rethink their decision to get rid of residential lock keepers in the Thames Valley area, it was announced today.
The Environment Agency had planned to sell or rent 22 lock keepers properties in the region, meaning that residential lock keepers would have lost their homes and no longer been able to perform their valuable role of keeping people safe on the river, or helping to prevent flooding. Lock keepers at Boulters Lock and Cookham Lock were both under threat.
But as a result of a meeting last Thursday with Theresa May, who had campaigned against the plans, and the Environment Minister Phil Woolas, the Environment Agency has decided to reconsider its plans, and give the lock keepers a stay of execution until January 2009.
Commenting on the decision, Theresa said:
“I am pleased that the Environment Agency has shown that it is listening and has decided to reconsider this. We led a strong local campaign and MPs across the region worked together to fight the decision to remove our lock keepers. Our residential lock keepers play a vital role. Whether it’s keeping junior rowers safe, stopping anti–social behaviour, or helping to prevent flooding, the resident lock keepers are always the first point of call. We will continue to campaign to ensure that they stay.”