Seacourt Stream looking towards the Botley Road bridge, June 2015
David Balmforth, newly elected President of the Institute of Civil Engineers, visited Oxford on 12 June to learn for himself about the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS). The event began at the Environment Agency offices at Osney with a presentation by Peter Collins of the Environment Agency, followed by a Q&A session. David asked about the ongoing maintenance of the proposed scheme (see the Oxford Mail article): it was made clear that the lifetime maintenance of the scheme was a critical part of the planning process and that Treasury approval would not be sought without it.
Peter Collins pointed out that of the total project duration, half was likely to be spent on consultation, planning and approval; the earliest that work on the ground would begin would be April 2018.
The entourage then went to the Seacourt Stream on the Botley Road for a site visit. Here Oxford Flood Alliance’s Adrian Porter talked to David Balmforth about some of the key challenges caused by flooding in the Oxford area, including:
- How properties, families and communities are affected
- The increasing frequency of flood events due to changing weather patterns
- The importance of ongoing maintenance of existing watercourses.
David was particularly interested in property-level defence and how the insurance industry needs to change to properly support affected homes and business premises.
The visit was well received and hopefully David Balmforth left Oxford with a good understanding of OFAS and how it fits into the wider strategy for protecting Oxford from flooding.
1 October 2014
OFA attended today’s OAFP meeting:
We asked the EA about progress on our proposals for working with them to ensure that riparian owners maintain the long rural stretches of waterways for which they (the owners) are legally responsible. The EA have prepared an ownership map as we agreed when last we met, so we hope to meet with them again soon.
The problem of flood water (groundwater?) in the back gardens on both sides of Earl Street was discussed. It is hoped that pumps in two gardens and property-level protection will resolve the problem: OFA and the City Council are working together on it.
OFA’s recent reconnaissance trip by canoe from South Hinksey to Redbridge discovered several serious obstructions, trees and so on. We showed photographs of some of them today and they have been reported to the EA as needing removal.