About

Who are we?

Oxford Flood Alliance (OFA) is a community action group which works to reduce flooding in the Oxford area.

It was formed in 2007 following a series of severe flood events affecting people’s homes and businesses in the city (see photos).

Why is flooding an issue?

Seven rivers meet in the city, making it vulnerable to flood events. Following a long dry period up to 2000, flooding has become a perennial problem. Climate change looks likely to make things worse.

The last major flood occurred in 1947. This was much bigger than any in recent years, but such a flood can, and almost certainly will, come again.

What has OFA achieved so far?

Coordination of flood management in the city has improved markedly owing to our work with local bodies including the Environment Agency, County and City Councils, Thames Water, and Network Rail. Response to a flood event is now highly organised.

We persuaded these bodies to introduce a series of low-cost, small-scale interventions to speed up the flow of water through the Oxford floodplain and to divert it away from the most vulnerable properties. These initiatives include:

  • major improvements to river flow under Munday’s underbridge at Kennington

  • new culverts under a Network Rail access road near Redbridge
  • removal of an old, collapsed footbridge from Hinksey Stream near Kennington
  • new culverts under the causeway at South Hinksey
  • new culverts under Willow Walk, North Hinksey
  • flood defence wall for Bulstake Close, Botley Road (photo right)
  • new culvert at bottom of Duke Street draining to playing fields
  • installation of permanent pumps in Earl Street, and modification of drains in Earl and Duke Streets to facilitate pumps
  • dedicated mobile back-up pump for Earl and Duke Streets
  • diversion of flood water in New Botley area down Lamarsh Road through retail park
  • pumps and floodgates for 30 vulnerable houses on Osney Island
  • defensive bund around South Hinksey village

For more details on past work see the News archive (see top right) and past publications .

What are we doing now?

Since 2013 we have worked with the Environment Agency on a major flood alleviation scheme for the city. We are a member of the sponsoring group for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS).

While we wait for the scheme to be approved and built we continue to monitor the maintenance of existing waterways to reduce flood risk.

How is OFA run?

We have a steering group. The current members are Simon Collings (Osney Island), Richard Thurston (Osney Island), Nick Hills (Earl Street), John Mastroddi (Kennington), Adrian Porter (South Hinksey), Liz Sawyer (Botley Road).

We have allies in areas not directly represented on the steering group: Wolvercote (Wolvercote Commoners, Nigel Walmsley), Wytham (Stella O’Gara, Parish Clerk), Binsey (Alison and Steven Cobb) and Old Botley (Angela MacKeith).

We have a mailing list, and we hold an Annual Public Meeting.

We work in partnership with flood-managing agencies, and we have recognised a number of particularly helpful individuals as Flood Stars.

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