Flood Repair and Renew grant – extended eligibility and deadlines

Andrew Smith MP has kindly sent us this recent letter about the Flood Repair and Renew Grant scheme.
The key points are

1. the eligibility period has been extended back to April 2013;

2. deadlines for applications have been extended.

Flood Repair and Renew Grant_Feb 2015 letter

South Hinksey barrier-ready groundwork given the go-ahead

South Hinksey’s community demo last October sought financial support for groundwork so we would be able to use temporary flood barriers to protect the village. Great news that our Vale District Council has agreed to pay for this groundwork – needed to level the land, and provide for crossing a field ditch.

Permissions have to be sought, plans drawn and contracts agreed, so it will be some time till diggers appear. Surveying has already begun.

While the Environment Agency cannot promise barriers till the day, the omens are good. The ground will be ready, as will our community team to put the barrier up.

Flooding at Christmas

24 December 2012

We are again facing possible property flooding in the area, maybe tomorrow, Christmas Day. For some this would be the second time in two months, and the fifth time in 12 years. While EVERY flooded home is serious, homes which are at risk of flooding repeatedly deserve particular priority. Action has been taken in some local areas but others remain at high risk. It would be ideal to have 1 in 100 year protection for everyone, but as that is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, we need smaller schemes now for those worst affected. We cannot wait for jam tomorrow. This needs money. While the government’s recently announced 120 million pounds extra (nationally) for flood relief schemes is welcome, much more is needed, without delay.

The need for more government funding

12 December 2012

We spent this morning meeting with representatives of the Environment Agency, the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, County Council, Oxford City Council and others. We hosted a meeting with these partners in July, to discuss what can be done to help further reduce flood risk in the Oxford area, and today’s meeting was the follow-up.
The meeting was positive and forward-looking. But while all involved want to see progress, and variously have the skills, knowledge and dedication to achieve it, what is sorely lacking is sufficient central government funding.
Parts of the Oxford Flood Strategy, and several works proposed by ourselves, have been implemented already. These helped in the recent flooding. Getting more done is a long slow process.

We’ll do what we can to keeping flooding high on the political agenda.

Flooding on the way AGAIN? – government funding sorely needed

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.

Northmoor weir

15 January 2012

We’ve just signed a petition opposing the spending of £3 MILLION to replace a perfectly good weir at Northmoor Lock, near Appleton. The flood risk reduction capital budget for Oxford is £5000 for the next 5 years.
See the background and sign the petition here http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/northmoorweir/
We’ve said this:

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. To that one might add: especially when it costs £3 million, the country is experiencing economic hard times and there are many things on which (almost!) everybody would agree the money could be better spent. We are not only thinking of flood defences for Oxford, although we sorely need more and there is at present nothing in the capital budget for 2012 onwards.

1. On the so-called health and safety issue:
We believe the technical case put forward re health and safety is deeply flawed. There are serious technical objections to its conclusions. There has never been an accident.
Even were the technical a case proven (which it is not) how much should be spent in such a case? £3 million isn’t too much – apparently. How about £10 million? £20 million? What does the law require? We don’t believe it’s that stupid.
2. There is no flood risk reduction for anyone (even the EA don’t claim that there is).
3. The present weir works well and is not at the end of its life.
4. It is a beautiful and important part of our river heritage.
It’s ironic that, despite the ‘Big Society’ agenda, when ‘ordinary’ people want to be listened to it still feels like banging your head against the proverbial brick wall. We think your idea of ‘working more closely with our MP’ is an excellent approach. And the PM’s constituency is of course not far away.
This should be winnable because of the facts and the logic of the case. Get the politicians involved, as you intend, and you should succeed.
Good luck in stopping this ill-conceived waste of public money. Let us know if we can help.

Partnership funding

December 2011

New government funding system for flooding

Central government funding is now through a new scheme known as Flood and Coastal Resilience Partnership Funding and run by DEFRA via the Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs). The old scheme resulted in ‘all or none’ funding, the new scheme in ‘all or part or none’ – the suggested advantages being to spread funding more widely, to encourage cost reduction and to allow top-ups to central funding from other sources. But see the report on our Annual Public Meeting for how we’re affected – very badly so far – and what we’re doing about it.