We hosted a meeting today to discuss how we could maintain the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme for both flood relief and the environment over the next century. We had an excellent meeting: in attendance were Rodney Rose (County), Chris Brown (County), Bob Price (City). Penny Burt (EA), Emma Formoy (EA), Giles Strother (BBOWT), Jeremy Biggs (Freshwater Habitats Trust), John Mastroddi (OFA), Nick Hills (OFA), Adrian Porter (OFA), Tim Treacher (SOFAG), Rachel Sanderson (OPT), Judy Webb (ecologist and Ashmolean Rare Plants Group), Peter Rawcliffe (OFA), Simon Collings (OFA), Peter Thompson (Civic Society), Peter Lefort (CAG).
The main question: ‘How might we best organise things to keep the channel working well and make the best of all the benefits over the next 100 years?’ There was excellent discussion with the following conclusions:
There was a general agreement with the idea of coordinating management of OFAS, and that this could bring cost savings and enhanced benefits from the scheme.
It is currently unclear what form the coordinating body would take but it is clear that riparian owners will continue to own their land and will be responsible for managing that land. Their participation in the coordinating structure is therefore key.
More detail about exactly what the required maintenance will be, and how this splits across hard physical assets, the stream and the secondary channel is needed before a further discussion.
In the meantime it was agreed that work to consolidate the ecological vision for OFAS was needed. Conversations are already going on with various stakeholders about this and a draft set of ambitions exists. It was agreed that we should build on these.