Cuckooflower in an existing marshy meadow nr. South Hinksey. It’s a larval food plant for the Orange-tip butterfly
Male orange-tip. On the right day in spring Orange-tips can be seen in swirling clouds of tens of thousands over this marshy meadow
Floodplain meadow near S Hinksey (just seen, extreme left). Ragged Robin (pink), Buttercup and Forget-Me-Not (blue, just visible in the foreground)
OFA attended a briefing yesterday (22 May 2018) on the Environmental Statement which forms part of the OFAS planning application. This was organised by the Environment Agency (EA) specifically for local environmental groups. Penny Burt, Phil Marsh and Graham Scholey for the EA covered different aspects of the scheme, and provided updates on the various environmental assessments being conducted.
The scheme will result in the creation of a continuous area of marshy meadow either side of the new channel with various scrapes and ponds to enhance the habitat value. Overall biodiversity should be improved and strengthened.
But there are downsides. Rich grassland meadow in some areas will be lost, and while there are plans to create more of this habitat elsewhere in the scheme this is not without risk. Trees will be lost in some areas, though compensated for elsewhere. Some views will change significantly, e.g. along Willow Walk, and at Kendal Copse just north of Kennington.
Several useful comments were made by participants in the meeting about ways to enhance environmental benefits from the scheme which the EA will think about.
Ongoing effective management of the project will be critical and the Environment Agency is now exploring detailed proposals around this with various local wildlife organisations. OFA welcomes the idea of collaboration between the EA and local bodies, but is arguing that whatever arrangements are set up there needs to be a mechanism of accountability to the public, so that local interested parties can understand what is being undertaken, and what achieved – both for flood relief and for wildlife.
Seacourt field 4/4/18
Representatives of OFA will be meeting with City Council officers and their consultants this afternoon to discuss our continuing serious concerns over the (now approved) Seacourt P&R extension. Cllr Colin Cook will also be there as will a representative for Layla Moran MP who is unable to attend in person: both strongly opposed the application.
There’s an article in today’s Oxford Mail
For anyone not on our mailing list, our Annual Public Meeting is this Wednesday, 25 April at West Oxford Democrats Club, 1 North Street, Osney Island, Oxford OX2 0AY.
Doors open at 7 pm, meeting starts at 7.30 pm.
City Councillor Colin Cook will be made Oxford Flood Alliance’s ‘Flood Star’ for 2018, in recognition of his support throughout the last 10 years – not least in this past year for his sterling and principled support of our opposition to the Seacourt P&R extension application (below).
There will be two speakers from the Environment Agency on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme – Jon Mansbridge on the progress so far and Penny Burt on environmental aspects.
We will discuss the controversial Seacourt P&R extension application, now approved, which has taken so much of our time and effort over the past year and more.
Graham Brogden from insurers Aviva will talk about property level resilience.
Everyone is very welcome to attend.
From today’s Oxford Mail online.
We will display these posters (and others) at the meeting of the Oxford City Council West Area Planning Committee to decide the Seacourt park and ride extension planning application, which (as you may have gathered by now) we oppose. The meeting is tomorrow evening (12 December) in the Assembly Room at the Town Hall and is open to the public; if you oppose the application please do attend. The meeting starts at 6pm and this will be the first application to be considered.
The recently appointed new Chair of Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC), Professor Robert Van de Noort, visited Oxford on 19 October with EA staff. He was briefed on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme and then shown the Seacourt area at the western end of the Botley Road, which marks the northern end of the Scheme.
We were pleased to meet Professor Van de Noort in South Hinksey, where he went on to see both the lie of the land where the channel will come past the village and on to Kennington to the south, and the earthworks done in the village itself to make the village ‘temporary barrier ready’ for the coming winter and beyond.
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.