Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 18:02 UK

High winds blow tree into Thames

Old Windsor Lock. Picture by Gillie Bolton
A lock keeper notified the Environment Agency

High winds overnight blew a tree down across the River Thames blocking river traffic, the Environment Agency said.

A lock keeper raised the alarm and notified the agency after spotting the tree on agency land at Old Windsor Lock in Berkshire, at about 0830 BST.

Several lock keepers used a pulley system to move boats around the tree, until a specialist team arrived.

A chainsaw, a small tug and a barge were used to chop it up and remove the logs of wood, the agency said.

This is just an indication that it is absolutely vital to keep the lock keepers on site
Resident Gillie Bolton

The incident comes after the Environment Agency (EA) announced it was planning to sell 10 of its 57 keepers' cottages along the River Thames, as part of a cost cutting exercise.

Martin Salter MP is scheduled to meet all sides in the House of Commons on 2 June, to ask the EA to reverse its decision.

Some people have expressed concerns that a presence will not be maintained 24 hours a day.

Of those lock houses that will be sold, one is in Oxford, two in Maidenhead, five in Surrey and two in Buckinghamshire.

Gillie Bolton, from Ham Island in Old Windsor, said: "This is just an indication that it is absolutely vital to keep the lock keepers on site. If they are far away it could be disastrous."


SEE ALSO
Rainfall floods railway station
26 May 08 |  Hampshire
Meeting in keeper's cottages row
23 May 08 |  England
Lock keeper's cottages to be sold
23 Apr 08 |  Oxfordshire
Floods hit about 900 properties
25 Jul 07 |  Oxfordshire
Thames flood sees homes evacuated
25 Jul 07 |  Oxfordshire

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