Exceptional rainfall has caused widespread and serious flooding in the north of England. It seems pretty clear (from this, and many other events worldwide) that climate change is happening here and now https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-50343977
Meanwhile in New South Wales a very different emergency, which again seems almost certain to be climate change related https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-50341207
The list goes on.
Flood defences are sorely needed for Oxford’s river flooding, and more than ever now that we’re faced with more frequent extreme weather events. The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is being developed to provide that defence.
Today there are Environment Agency Flood Alerts for our area. As we write, water from ditches to the west is starting to accumulate in a corner of King George’s Field, behind Duke and Earl Streets, as it does at the start of every flood. More rain is forecast tonight.
And on the very same day we read of opposition to the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme in the Oxford Mail. The Scheme is designed to save many, many hundreds of homes and businesses from recurrent flooding, at enormous stress, disruption, and financial cost – to individuals, families, businesses, and the whole Oxford community. Climate change is widely expected to make things far worse in the future. We’ve been at this for ten years now and in our opinion (and that of many others) there is no viable alternative, “Green” or otherwise. If we don’t get the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme it’ll simply be a disaster for Oxford.
Here’s the latest newsletter from the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.
Further archaeological investigations are starting soon in the OFAS area, with digging of trenches in places identified from previous work as being of potential interest. Teams are due to begin setting up base camp in Manor Farm, South Hinksey today. The work is expected to be completed in November 2017.
See this Archaeology Information Sheet for more details.
Public consultation on the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, OFAS, begins tomorrow.
See https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/oxford-flood-alleviation-scheme-design-consultation for more about this, and tomorrow the dedicated consultation website should be available from the link there.
We joined Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, the OFAS Project Team and other partners when Emma visited Oxford today. The Public Consultation for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is due to be launched in two days time, on Friday 23 June.
Talk on 29 June by Jeremy Biggs of the Freshwater Habitats Trust
Jeremy Biggs gave an interesting and inspiring talk, ‘Oxford and the Thames: a national hotspot for freshwater wildlife’, in South Hinksey yesterday; it was well attended by professionals and members of the public alike.
The overall message was that the Oxford area, including (but much wider than) the area of the OFAS channel, is of relatively high quality (on a national scale) for freshwater wildlife. Nevertheless, there have been local extinctions and a gradual decline over the last century. Clean, unpolluted water is vital to any attempt to reverse the decline.
A lively discussion followed.
To make the most of the possible environmental enhancements from the OFAS scheme more detailed proposals will be developed. More could be achieved if additional, separate funding could be obtained. Such work could make a contribution to reversing the gradual decline and enable lessons to be learnt as to how to do this best.
See also Oxford and the Thames_talk flyer_Jun16 FINAL
Nick Hills at Boundary Brook
Elder Stubbs pond
Pond in Port Meadow by Wolvercote
This study has now closed – we contributed results on samples from 31 locations (a few are shown above) – see previous post Clean Water for Wildlife.
As far as we know, this study, by the Freshwater Habitats Trust, is the first of its kind in the UK.
We’ll post the results when they become available.