A CYCLIST was knocked off his bike after a car splashed a 10-foot wave, caused by blocked drains, a councillor has claimed.

The cyclist was knocked off on March 1 after a 4×4 drove past him through surface water flooding, according to Councillor Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East).

He made the claim while opposition councillors at West Berkshire Council proposed adding £50,000 to the budget to help keep drains unblocked, preventing flooding.

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Cllr Dillon said: “We have all seen examples of dangerous levels of surface water flooding over this winter. Only on Sunday on the A4, I saw a cyclist get knocked off of his bike by a 10 foot wave caused by a BMW 4×4 driving past him.

“The only way that you can deal with these types of drainage issues, is by sending out pumping trucks to be able to go and pump the drains there and then. This money can help us towards that, making the district safer for us all.”

Liberal Democrat councillors were trying to amend the capital budget, at a meeting of the full council on March 3. That amendment was introduced by Cllr Alan Macro (Lib Dem, Theale).

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The capital budget, which was voted through on March 3, includes investment in infrastructure of £111 million over the next three years. This includes £45 million on transport and housing, including improving train stations, cycle paths and upgrades to road networks.

Cllr Ross Mackinnon (Con, Bradfield), lead for finance, said: “We are investing to make sure West Berkshire remains a great place to live, work and learn.”

Tory councillors also said there is already £590,000 in the budget for this, and a survey of 35,000 gulleys is currently being conducted.

Some of the flooding in West Berkshire in 2007, 2013 and 2014 was “caused or exacerbated by blocked ditches and culverts”, Cllr Macro said. “We are proposing a modest £50,000 to be spent on maintaining the drainage infrastructure to make it less likely that places will get flooded again.”

While the Tories, in charge of the council, voted down the amendment to invest £50,000 in clearing drains to prevent flooding, it was supported by Green opposition councillors.

Cllr Carolyne Culver (Green, Ridgeway) said: “Only a couple of weeks ago, an officer said to me ‘if you want drains cleared, it’s who shouts loudest gets the job done’, and I don’t think we are investing sufficient funds in this.

“It was six years ago that East Isley was flooded. Many of us were going around the village, up to our knees in waste water trying to help our neighbours to stop the flooding from going into houses and trying to save their possessions.

“Some of my neighbours were out of the houses for a year. I think now with the climate emergency, it is more essential than ever that we invest more money in drainage and preventing flooding in the future.”