New Chair of RFCC visits Oxford

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.

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Thames Regional Flood & Coastal Committee visit Oxford

The Thames Regional Flood & Coastal Committee (RFCC) met in Oxford yesterday. Following the meeting, members visited sites in Oxford related to OFAS. Members of our steering group were on hand to welcome them and, with staff from the Environment Agency, showed the visitors some of the problems which need to be surmounted to alleviate Oxford’s recurrent flooding.

Flooding which, unchecked, is likely to threaten further the proper functioning, and the reputation, of the city in the future if (as a consensus of scientists predicts) climate change makes extreme weather more common. OFAS offers the only practicable way towards reducing this all too real danger in time.

Meeting on OFA proposals; and encouraging maintenance by riparian owners

30 May 2013

1. Meeting this afternoon with representatives of the EA, County, RFCC, City and Vale. We heard the results of assessments of ten proposals put forward by OFA last December. Two broad options are worthy of further investigation: we expect to hear more by the autumn. Also awaited is a reconciliation of two different flood models for our area, which will have an indirect bearing on the proposals mentioned and assist in a re-evaluation of the idea of a new ‘western conveyance’ – i.e. bigger waterway (new, or expanded present ones – or a mix of the two). While nothing is yet definite, we remain patiently optimistic, and determined.

 2. We are starting to work with the EA (first meeting next week) to encourage owners of the banks of the long rural stretches of waterway in the area (for which as riparian owners they are responsible) to undertake long-term maintenance of the waterways.

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.

Partnership funding

December 2011

New government funding system for flooding

Central government funding is now through a new scheme known as Flood and Coastal Resilience Partnership Funding and run by DEFRA via the Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs). The old scheme resulted in ‘all or none’ funding, the new scheme in ‘all or part or none’ – the suggested advantages being to spread funding more widely, to encourage cost reduction and to allow top-ups to central funding from other sources. But see the report on our Annual Public Meeting for how we’re affected – very badly so far – and what we’re doing about it.