Barrier at South Hinksey

A red letter day for South Hinksey village, with temporary barriers deployed (in a trial exercise) for the first time!

The exercise went well with the EA teams getting the barriers up in 3-4 hours from delivery to site. In a real flood event in the wet it might take longer and pumps would have to be deployed too but even so this would represent a good time. The residents will now feel very much more secure as winter approaches. Let’s hope the barrier isn’t needed but if it is it will be there. A big thank you to all involved.

Flood exercise today

The flood exercise mentioned in the last post, testing and demonstrating readiness to deploy defences, is under way today. In South Hinksey temporary barriers are being set up by the Environment Agency (EA). At Bullstake Close on the Botley Road the barriers there, which have been used before in a flood, will be erected; and fire crews are showing how the pipe which has been installed under the Botley Road can be used to deal with flood water and reduce the flooding of the road.

For South Hinksey this is a very reassuring demonstration of the ability to now defend the village from flooding. Such barriers have never been used here before.

Of course Oxford still needs a bigger, more permanent scheme – in the form of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. The OFA update in the previous post summarises the present position – the Scheme is under way, albeit delayed. In the meantime today’s activities show that we will not be without  protection in the interim.

Emma Howard-Boyd, Chair of the EA, and Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive, are in South Hinksey today to see what’s being done and meet the teams and there is no doubt that protecting Oxford in both the short and long term is being taken very seriously.

Our thanks to everyone who is working hard on behalf of the many local residents, businesses and other organisations affected by flooding.

OFA Update / OFAS & Flood Exercise

This update has recently been sent to those on our mailing list.

Dear OFA contact,

We last sent out an update in Oct 2019, just after the news about the problems with the A423 bridge (southern bypass) and likely delays to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS). OFA is still active and has been participating in meetings of the Sponsoring Group for the OFAS scheme and has also held separate meetings with the Environment Agency team about water course maintenance since our last update.

Despite the A423 issues, and the challenges presented by coronavirus, the OFAS scheme continues to progress. The EA and the County Council have agreed a collaborative approach to replacing the A423 bridge and constructing the OFAS scheme. This should save on costs for OFAS, and reduce the level of maintenance required in future.

The EA withdrew the original planning application earlier in the year and is currently revising this to incorporate the new A423 arrangements, and to update the documents on some other aspects of the scheme. Once these are resubmitted to the planning authority the public will have a fresh opportunity to comment on the plans. The EA is continuing to meet with objectors to the scheme with a view to trying to address outstanding areas of public concern.

Because OFAS is now expected to be delivered two years later than originally expected it is important that effective flood response procedures are in place in case a major flood event happens in the next few years. The EA, Fire Brigade and the local Council officials will be holding a practice response on 20 August to test aspects of current procedures. Because of coronavirus these will not involve the pubic.

The text of a recent update from the Environment Agency is pasted below which provides some additional information on OFAS and other matters,

OFA Steering Group

Oxford Scheme update

A423 bridge replacement

Oxfordshire County Council began the propping work on the A423 Kennington Railway Bridge in July.

Replacement of the A423 Bridge has provided an opportunity to design and build the bridge and the flood scheme together. This allows us to reduce disruption during construction and ensure the best use of public money. The updated design will use open channels instead of culverts to allow the flow of floodwater under the bridge. This will provide a better environment for wildlife and requires less maintenance.

The bridge is at the southern end of the scheme and during a flood, water would need to pass underneath it to re-join the River Thames. This capacity needs to be in place before the scheme is constructed to avoid increasing flood risk elsewhere. We also need to have all approvals, including planning permission and our Compulsory Purchase Order secured.

South Hinksey Archaeology

If you’ve been walking near South Hinksey, you may have spotted our contractors on site. We are carrying out archaeology surveys in a field near South Hinksey village to check whether the area is suitable for us to use as the main compound for when we construct the scheme. The archaeology surveys will determine whether there are any historical artefacts in the field. We want to ensure there’s no risk of us damaging any artefacts or remains. Once we have finished the investigations, we will remove our equipment from the site and reinstate the fields.

Kendall Copse Ground Investigations

To complement the new A423 bridge replacement, we are reviewing the design of the scheme around Kendall Copse, near Kennington.

From 10 August, we will be digging trial pits and drilling boreholes to understand the ground conditions beneath the site in order to finalise these designs.

Oxford Flood Incident Exercise

To ensure our flood protection plans are well-tested, the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme partners and emergency responders will be practicing their incident response plans on 20 August 2020.

The flood response exercise will consist of:

 •temporary flood barriers in South Hinksey and Bullstake Close

•pumps to remove flood water along Botley Road

Due to the current Government guidance on public gatherings, we won’t be able to invite members of the community to attend. We will be sharing updates on Twitter and Facebook as the exercise progresses. We will also share video footage of the temporary barriers and pumps so you can see our field teams in action.

Managing your flood risk

During the summer months, flood risk might be low on your list of priorities, but Environment Agency officers are thinking about it year-round. Throughout the year our operations staff carry out inspections and clear debris to keep main rivers moving. To report a blockage that could cause flooding call our 24 incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

You can also find out what maintenance is planned in your area: environment.data.gov.uk/asset-management/index.html

Stay prepared by signing up for flood alerts and preparing a flood plan: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk

  

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to be added to our mailing list, please contact us at: OxfordScheme@environment-agency.gov.uk

Further public drop-in meetings for Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme

Further public drop-in sessions are now arranged for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. These are for people to see and comment on the various options developed for the channel, ask questions and make comments and suggestions. The consultation will be available online as well.

All are from 2:30 to 7 pm – come when you like:

  • Tuesday 19 January          Oxford Town Hall, OX1 1BX
  • Wednesday 20 January   Abbey House (Council Offices), Abingdon, OX14 3JE
  • Friday 22 January             South Oxford Community Centre, OX1 4RP
  • Wednesday 27 January    Kennington Village Centre, OX1 5PG
  • Thursday 28 January       West Oxford Community Centre, OX2 0BT.

Notice of our Annual Public Meeting – next Thursday, November 19th

Oxford Flood Alliance logoANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING:

THURSDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2015

At The Democrats, Osney Island, 7.30 pm. Entrance at the north end of East Street.
Doors open from 7.00 pm.

EVERYONE VERY WELCOME –

YOUR CHANCE TO HEAR THE LATEST FROM

Network Rail on their plans to clear blocked culverts under the railway north of Redbridge.

Environment Agency on the multi-million pound Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) (Western Conveyance)

Thames Water on their major review of Oxford’s sewers.

ALSO

Hear our ideas on how Oxford FAS might be maintained not only for flood alleviation but also for wildlife.

Local planning applications, Weirs Mill Stream – and more.

Final OFAS public consultation events

This week saw the last two public drop-in events of this series, at the Town Hall and South Oxford Community Centre. Again they seemed well-received by visitors and valuable comments were made and recorded. The partners in the scheme, including OFA, have enjoyed meeting the many visitors, hearing their views and concerns. Hopefully people have been reassured by what they have learnt: certainly that has been our predominant impression.

Meanwhile, consultants have recently begun work on the next step – of preparing more detailed plans. The comments and suggestions received at these drop-in events are being collated and will be used in this planning.

Expect more public events in the autumn.

Public consultation events continue

Following on from the first meeting in Kennington, there have been meetings in Abingdon and the West Oxford Community Centre. Partners in the schemes, including OFA, have listened to concerns and suggestions from members of the public and explained, as far as is known at this stage, what the Oxford and Abingdon Flood Alleviation Schemes aim to achieve and what they may consist of. Generally those attending have been very positive about the schemes.

Oxford Mail report on the meeting at WOCC

The final two events are this afternoon, 30 June, at Oxford Town Hall and on Friday, 3 July, at South Oxford Community Centre, both 2.30-7.30 pm.

First OFAS drop-in session, Kennington

First OFAS drop-in session, KenningtonThe first OFAS drop-in session in Kennington this afternoon.

Representatives from the Environment Agency, the County Council, Thames Water, consulting engineers, and three of us from Oxford Flood Alliance, were there to explain the scheme, answer questions and listen to suggestions.

The event was really popular, with a steady stream of visitors from 2.30 to close of play at 7.30 pm. There was a lot of discussion, and many valuable suggestions based on local or specialised knowledge (from concerns about particular local flood risk, to ecology, to canoeing) were made. Hopefully too people left with a good idea of the rationale for the scheme and what it may entail. Certainly many said that they had appreciated the event and hoped there would be more – and indeed the plan at the moment is to run similar events in the autumn.

Report in the Oxford Times

The next events in the present series are this Thursday in Abingdon and Friday at the West Oxford Community Centre (see two posts back).