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.

An key meeting planned

10 July 2012

OFA is hosting a meeting with our partners, to develop proposals for further flood relief for Oxford

There have been significant changes in recent months in the way flood risk management is funded. Partners are being encouraged to work together to find cost effective solutions and to tackle all types of flood risk in a joined up way.  Oxford had been identified as a priority area for attention based on the potential number of homes at significant risk. OFA has learned that the Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) is keen to promote flood risk management measures in areas such as Oxford and that funding to assist in the development of schemes is potentially available.
The Committee, which approves the programme of schemes in the Thames region, has invited proposals large or small where the cost-benefit analysis can be shown to be positive. The Committee is receptive to proposals from the lead local flood authority, which for Oxford is Oxfordshire County Council, to understand and address surface water risks and the relationship with river flooding. It is also interested in re-examining work undertaken as part of the Oxford Flood Risk Management Strategy to establish whether any of the works can be taken forward under the new funding regime.  Collaboration between local agencies and cost sharing are being encouraged under new government rules.
In response to this opportunity OFA has convened a meeting of the County, City and Vale Councils, the Environment Agency and Network Rail to discuss potential schemes which might be put forward. The meeting will take place on 27 July in South Hinksey.
A considerable amount of time and money went into modelling the aborted £100m Oxford Flood Risk Management Scheme. We believe elements of this scheme could be turned into fundable proposals. Also a number of measures suggested by OFA over the last few years could be taken up.
We have had a very positive response from the various local bodies to the idea of a meeting and are looking forward to working with them. We will keep you informed of the outcomes of the meeting.

OFRMS

3 June 2009

Following the public consultation the National Review Group (NRG) of the Environment Agency, an internal EA group, is considering the major long-term flood scheme for Oxford, the Oxford Flood Risk Management Strategy (OFRMS). A presentation, which we contributed to by helping with video clips, was made today. As soon as we hear the outcome we will let you know. Even if they give the ok, the scheme will still be a long way from being confirmed. There will be further detailed design work, more public consultation and then the biggest hurdle, submission to the government of the day for funding.