Good to see this positive and supportive editorial.
Note: The article says that the Scheme extends from Seacourt P&R to Sandford Lock – it does in fact extend down only as far as the Redbridge/Kennington area.
Here’s the National Flood Forum’s December 2018 bulletin
The Environment Agency has looked again at the question of trees in the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS) – this is from their recent newsletter:
‘We have listened to local concerns about the impact the scheme will have on trees and recently conducted some additional tree surveys. Although trees will unfortunately have to be felled during the construction stage, we can confirm that our tree-planting proposals will ensure there will be more woodland within the scheme area after completion, than there currently is at present.
By surveying individual trees by eye, we estimate that 2,000 trees will need to be felled. To mitigate for this we will be planting around 4,325 trees. In addition, 15,000 smaller trees, such as hawthorn, hazel and elder, will also be planted, along with many more native shrubs such as dogwood, goat willow, dog rose and wild privet. Throughout the design process, our contractors, engineers and ecologists have worked together to minimise tree loss wherever possible. Once a contractor has been appointed we will work with them to further minimise losses of trees wherever possible.
Our aim is for the scheme to bring a true green legacy to the area. We are currently exploring options for the long term maintenance of the scheme to ensure it is not only maintained as a flood scheme, but continues to provide lasting environmental improvements well into the future.’
The December 2018 Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme newsletter has just been published.
Make of this what you will – what is going on?….
“In papers, the council said it has stopped the work because it wants to get it ‘right’.”
Rather suggests they were getting it wrong (we’d agree with that).
From the agenda pack of the meeting of Oxford City Council’s Finance Panel of the Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 6 December:
[p. 17] “7. Direct Services Client – £0.494 million adverse variance arising from a decline in car parking income. It was originally envisaged that visitor numbers travelling into the city by car would significantly increase with the opening of Westgate and City Council car parks would benefit, however any increased business together with existing business appears to have gone to the Westgate car park. Worcester Street and Oxpens car park are both seeing a decline in usage which is having a significant impact on income.”
[p. 18-19] “10. A thorough review has been made of the Capital Programme as at the end of September 2018 and this has led to a significant amount of slippage into future years. The projected outturn on the Capital Programme is currently a favourable variance of £15.945 million against the latest budget of £109.665 million. The main variances are:…..
Extension of Seacourt Park and Ride – £3.217 million is to be slipped, this is the remaining balance of funding. It is important to get the detail of this project right and it is unlikely that works will commence in this financial year.”
From the new (26 November 2018) Met Office report on the challenge of climate change in the UK:
‘The projections will be factored into the UK’s flood adaptation planning and the Environment Agency’s advice to flood and coastal erosion risk management authorities.
Since 2010 government has invested a record £2.6 billion in flood defences, and we are on track to protect 300,000 more homes from flooding by 2021.
Chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, said: “The UKCP18 projections are further evidence that we will see more extreme weather in the future – we need to prepare and adapt now, climate change impacts are already being felt with the record books being re-written.
“It is not too late to act. Working together – governments, business, and communities – we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and adapt to a different future.
“The Environment Agency cannot wall up the country, but will be at the forefront – protecting communities, building resilience, and responding to incidents.” ‘
The need for locally mined gravel continues – in today’s Oxford Mail is an article about a proposal for a new quarry at Clifton Hampden
The company concerned, Hills, says:
• The mineral reserve in this area is estimated to be approximately 2.5 million tonnes
• Extraction will be at a rate of around 200,000 tonnes per year
• Therefore the quarry will operate for a period of 12.5 years.
There is to be a talk, open to all, on ‘The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme: Maximising the benefits for people and freshwater wildlife’ with Jeremy Biggs of Freshwater Habitats Trust and Penny Burt from the Environment Agency on Monday 26 November 2018 at 6.30 pm in South Hinksey Village Hall.
The Oxford Mail today carries an article about the Freshwater Habitats Trust’s (FHT) very positive involvement with OFAS:
Much more on FHT and OFAS here: