Press release

Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme: ground investigation work begins

Ground investigations to determine the design and route of Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme’s proposed flood relief channel began this week.

Specialist contractors started work on digging 130 boreholes and trial pits today (Tuesday 15 September) on land between Oxford’s Botley Road and Sandford in Kennington, the 2 points where the channel will leave and re-enter the River Thames.

The investigations will provide important data on the geology of the area. Monitors will be placed in some of the boreholes to provide additional information on groundwater levels and flows. Work will continue for about four weeks.

Joanna Larmour, Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme Project Director, said:

Added to information we gathered in 2009 the results of this work will give us a better understanding of the nature of the rock and soils underlying the area through which the flood relief channel will be excavated.

The information on groundwater movements will also enhance our existing information and help us model flows with increased accuracy.

Alongside the information gathered during our recent public consultation events we will use the ground investigation data to develop channel route options that provide most benefit for the people of Oxford and the surrounding area. We will seek views on these proposed routes in a further round of consultation events this winter.

Trial pits will be approximately 1 metre wide, 3 metres long and up to 3.5 metres deep. Boreholes will be 15cm in diameter and up to 10 metres deep.

All locations will be inspected and approved by an ecologist before work starts to ensure there is no detrimental environmental impact. A member of Oxford Archaeology will also be present to record any finds which may be unearthed.

All pits and boreholes will be dug and filled in the same day, with no spoil being generated.

The data gathered will also inform the waste management plan for the construction phase of the project which will aim to reuse or recycle as much excavated material as possible.

Notes to Editors

The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is a partnership project involving the Environment Agency, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Vale of White Horse Council, Oxford Flood Alliance, The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

The scheme is being developed to reduce flooding in Oxford by constructing new or enlarging existing channels in the floodplain to the west of the city at an estimated cost of £120 million.