24 November 2012
Today we’re watching river levels rise and fields flooding; it‘s still raining and more is forecast. Will properties flood again?
The Oxford Flood Strategy flood prevention scheme, produced by the Environment Agency after years of work, was going to cost £150 million. The government’s new partnership funding scheme, introduced subsequently, would provide 7% of the money required. 93%, about £140 million, would have to come from the County, the City, the Vale, businesses, and residents. That’s totally unrealistic.
Every flood costs a huge amount. Only government has sufficient capital to invest to stop this recurring problem. But the government doesn’t seem to appreciate that money spent on flood defences is money exceedingly well spent. In economic terms alone it’s TEN TIMES better value than the controversial HS2 rail scheme.
Changing weather patterns look set to make flooding more and more common. Throughout Holland defences are designed to limit flooding to once in 1000 years or better. The Oxford Flood Strategy offered 1 in 75-100 year protection; at present we have almost none.
This country could afford adequate flood defences if the political will were there. The government must grasp the issue, supplement the present funding scheme, and invest serious money. Failure to do so will cost far, far more. And that’s not counting the human misery.