I feel sorry for the Environment Agency. It wants to help us avoid flooding, but its budget has been cut and it has suffered.

At the flood clinic in Abingdon, I asked how it modelled the flow in the River Thames.

It had said that computer models helped decide that it was all right for RWE npower to tip Didcot Power Station's ash into huge clay-lined storage pits at Radley, up-river from Abingdon.

These clay pits occupy our rapidly shrinking floodplain, blocking water flows both above and below ground level.

Both floodplain loss and flow blockage cause raised water-levels and flow speeds, increasing flood risk in Abingdon, Radley and Kennington.

I have used computer models for years and I know how to tackle this problem. You run the model to calculate the flow and water level during a flood, not once but twice, first including the clay obstruction in the model and then omitting it.

This procedure evaluates increases in water level and flow speed caused by these clay monstrosities in our floodplain.

To my surprise, I discovered the Environment Agency has never included the clay obstruction in their model "because it's a temporary structure". This "temporary structure" influenced two major floods over five years and will exist for many years.

During the recent floods, I watched with horror the expanded Thames surrounding the largest clay structure (Lakes H/I) being deflected and swirling past at speed, and backing up visibly to higher water levels upriver.

But these observations are not modelled by the Environment Agency.

Lakes H/I have been clay-bunded with its approval. Recently, it has approved the destruction of Thrupp Lake.

Oxfordshire County Council accepted the Environment Agency's judgement because it is the statutory authority.

Lakes, it seems, can be sacrificed because "they do not exist".

PETER HARBOUR (Dr) South Avenue Abingdon