This is their headline: a further 30 day consultation,
Since our last newsletter we have submitted the planning application for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme to Oxfordshire County Council and they have held a consultation on the proposals. We have received a request for further information from them, which is quite normal for a project of this size. Once we have submitted this additional information the council will run a 30-day consultation on the newly submitted information, before considering it alongside the rest of the application.
We expect to make a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land needed to build the scheme later this year.

Good morning,

Please find attached and below our August 2022 edition of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme newsletter.

Please share this newsletter with anyone who may be interested and encourage them to contact us to be added to our distribution list.

To request this newsletter in a different format, including large print, braille or in another language, please call the Environment Agency on 0370 850 6506.

Kind regards,

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We are working with 9 partners on a major new flood scheme for Oxford, which will reduce flood risk to homes, businesses and vital transport routes into the city. The scheme will provide a long term solution to flooding in Oxford, helping protect the city in coming decades as flood risk increases with climate change.
The scheme will run through the existing floodplain west of Oxford. It will be formed of a new stream surrounded by a sloping floodplain of new wetland habitat and grazing meadow, to create more space for water away from built-up areas.

Scheme update

Since our last newsletter we have submitted the planning application for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme to Oxfordshire County Council and they have held a consultation on the proposals. We have received a request for further information from them, which is quite normal for a project of this size. Once we have submitted this additional information the council will run a 30-day consultation on the newly submitted information, before considering it alongside the rest of the application.
We expect to make a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land needed to build the scheme later this year.

Movement of material by rail

Construction of the scheme requires removing material from the floodplain offsite. We will reuse as much material as possible on site, for example to create earth embankments. Excess material will be taken to sites which already have planning permission for environmental restoration, such as former quarry sites.
We are looking to transport some of the excavated material by rail. We will be submitting a planning application to construct a temporary access track to the Hinksey Rail Sidings. Use of rail will depend on gaining planning permission to access the sidings, their availability and trains at the time of construction, and agreements with the operator of the sidings.

Once the work is finished, the temporary access track, alongside a temporary bridge crossing Hinksey Stream and pedestrian diversion, will all be removed and reinstated to their current use.

Maintaining the scheme for decades to come

We have a detailed programme in place to maintain the scheme operationally and to establish and manage habitats for at least the next 100 years.
In order to secure the potential benefits the scheme can bring for future generations, once we have all the necessary approvals and are nearing construction of the scheme, we will appoint an environmental partner who will be responsible for looking after the wildlife and landscapes of the scheme area in the long-term.
They will work alongside our operational team to bring additional environmental enhancements, involve local people and community groups, establish opportunities for scientific research and visit schools to teach children about the work we do to protect and enhance the environment.

Earth Trust is helping us set the foundations for this approach. They are advising us on the development of plans for how the eventual land management of the completed scheme could/should function to deliver the long term environmental, climate and human health and wellbeing benefits of the scheme.

Scheme design

We have received lots of helpful feedback on the design of the scheme during our consultations and conversations with local communities over many years. The planning application we have submitted will ensure that the scheme provides Oxford with robust and reliable flood protection, that will also enhance the local environment.

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The new stream with lowered floodplain is integral to the working of the flood scheme so that flood risk is reduced adequately and not transferred elsewhere. The lowered ground alongside the new stream does not store static water but provides additional space and a defined route for it to flow through the floodplain, away from communities, properties and businesses. Absence of a defined route for the water could lead to an unintended increase in flood risk elsewhere.

Crucially, the design will also enable us to create valuable new environmental features within and around the whole area of the scheme. This will include wetland habitat, new floodplain meadow, and backwaters and ponds.

Next steps

Before we can start building the scheme, we need to have all approvals, including planning permission and our compulsory purchase order, in place. Subject to approvals, we currently anticipate construction to begin in 2024.

Construction projects are currently experiencing cost increases due to wider inflation and the price and availability of materials and labour. The scheme’s budget takes inflation into consideration and its costs are reviewed regularly.

Until the scheme is completed, the Environment Agency has well tested flood-protection plans in place for Oxford, working with others, including the fire service and county council, to help those at greatest risk in the city. We encourage people to check their own flood risk and sign up for Environment Agency flood alerts.

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