Oxford needs a better flood scheme: HOEG responds to “No flood funds for Oxfordshire”

Building on fourteen months of careful preparation, Hinksey and Osney Environment Group (HOEG) met the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme (OFAS) on 3 July in the presence of a professional facilitator to discuss cost-saving alternatives for when the Environment Agency submits its revised planning proposals in July 2021.

They included a pumped solution which is much cheaper than that the EA have been designing to date and politicians should be pushing for this solution to save Oxford’s residents from the inevitable floods in the future.

The current proposal involves an incorrectly calculated environmental assessment that would result in a substantial net loss of biodiversity, not the claimed gain; and also incorrectly calculated cost benefit, which would in reality be much less than the £10 for every £1 spent claimed.

The HOEG alternative is based on the Scheme’s own hydrology and costings, aimed at reducing the environmental impact on the natural flood plain. It also appears to save £50 million, around one third of the OFAS construction cost, while keeping flood water away from residential Kennington, avoiding earthmoving traffic at the South Hinksey A34 interchange, and avoiding fifteen months traffic disruption for Redbridge community tip.

The savings could be spent on the concerns raised by local MPs on hearing that Oxfordshire would be getting no extra flood money this year. Projects might include permanent flood protection for Osney Island, protection against sewage-flooding in South Hinksey and Weirs Lane Estate, and a permanent flood pump at Vicarage Road, South Oxford.

The Hinksey and Osney Environment Group is keenly awaiting the facilitator’s draft transcript of the meeting.

Dr Rod Chalk, Brian Durham MSc, FSA, Dr Jonathan Madden, Canon Dr Chris Sugden for the Hinksey and Osney Environment Group

Contact 07808297043, csugden@ocrpl.org.

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