The £120m Oxford flood alleviation scheme, which will reduce flood risk to homes, businesses, and transport in Oxford and the surrounding area, has moved a step closer.
The Oxford flood alleviation scheme partnership has just announced that it has secured the funding for the scheme, which will include at least 15 hectares of new habitat creation, 7 new bridges and 2.6 kilometres of new flood defences.
More than £65m in funding has already been committed by Government. A record amount of partnership funding totalling over £55m has now been given by a wide range of partners. Investment has been secured from Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Thames Water Utilities and the University of Oxford.
Joanna Larmour, Project Director at the Environment Agency, said:
This is a huge scheme – one of the biggest the Environment Agency is working on – and when complete it will not only reduce flood risk to homes across Oxford but it will also protect vital infrastructure, enabling the city to keep moving during flooding. It will also benefit communities and wildlife in a number of ways, including improving existing public footpaths and creating new habitat for wildlife and improving biodiversity.
Today’s fantastic news shows that working in partnership can help us get the best scheme for Oxford. We are very pleased that our partners have recognised the multiple benefits it will bring and helped us secure the funding required to progress the scheme to the next stage.
The scheme will benefit everyone who lives, works in or visits Oxford. As well as reduced property flooding, the railway and Botley and Abingdon roads will be protected keeping the city open for business during future flooding. There will also be fewer flood related electricity, telephone and internet disruptions. The scheme will allow Oxford’s successful economy to continue to thrive and also provide environmental benefits and a longterm green legacy.
County Councillor Yvonne Constance said:
The flood relief channel has been a hope for many people for a long time. Now we are at the stage where it has the funding it needs to be made into a reality there will be thousands of homes and businesses protected from the devastating effects of flooding.
Clearly there is still much work to do, but this funding announcement means we can continue to work in partnership to move forward to the next stage.
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said:
The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will bring huge benefits to householders in West and South Oxford, and to all parts of the business community. I am delighted that we have been successful in our application for this final tranche of funding.
HM Treasury approved the outline business case for the scheme in November 2017. This detailed that full funding for the scheme had to be committed before it could move to the next stage. This has now been confirmed, thanks to increases in contributions from the scheme partners.
The total amount covers the design and construction costs to deliver the scheme. The project team will now work on the Full Business Case, which will be submitted to HM Treasury later this year. Partners will continue to work together on ongoing negotiations with external companies for future investment in the scheme.
The Environment Agency will submit the planning application for the Oxford flood alleviation scheme in March. It will take approximately 3 years to build the scheme, which is designed to work with the natural floodplain west of Oxford.
The route of the Oxford flood scheme
Flood risk in Oxford before and after the Oxford flood alleviation scheme