The Environment Agency has submitted the planning application to build the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.
This is a significant step towards reducing flood risk to homes, businesses and transport links in Oxford.
A major project led by the Environment Agency in partnership with 9 other organisations, the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is one of the biggest flood schemes currently planned in England.
Oxford has a long history of flooding, with significant floods in recent decades damaging homes and businesses and closing the railway and major roads into the city.
Working with the natural floodplain to the west of Oxford, the proposed scheme will create a new stream meandering through a gently sloping floodplain of grazing meadow with wildflowers and wetland. People will be able to enjoy walking and cycling alongside the new stream, and looking out for wildlife in the wetland and meadows.
When water levels in the River Thames are high, the stream will start to fill its floodplain, reducing flood risk to built-up areas of the city.
Oxfordshire County Council will decide whether to approve the application following their online public consultation. People can submit comments on the planning application via the council’s ePlanning system at https://myeplanning.oxfordshire.gov.uk/Planning/Display/MW.0027/22.
Joanne Emberson Wines, Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said: “The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will reduce flood risk to all properties in Oxford currently at risk of flooding from the River Thames. It’s a long-term solution that will help the city adapt to our changing climate and make it more resilient to future floods.”
“The scheme has also been designed to bring environmental and community improvements to the area, creating a new wetland landscape that will benefit wildlife and local people for generations to come. Submitting this planning application is a huge step in making this a reality for communities in and around Oxford.”
Tom Bridgman, Executive Director for Development at Oxford City Council, said: “Oxford has a long history of flooding, and many people have experienced the disruption it causes to homes, businesses, main roads, railway lines and vital services. Flooding also affects the mental health of communities who see their lives, homes and businesses devastated by floods. This an important milestone which brings us another stage closer to ensuring peace of mind for our residents, and an even brighter future for Oxford.”
The Oxford Flood Alliance, made up of local residents affected by flooding, has worked closely with the Environment Agency over many years on the development of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.
A representative said: “We’re proud to have helped get the scheme to this point; it has been a huge effort across multiple partners bringing their expertise to the table.
“We believe the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is the best option for Oxford, its communities, its economy and biodiversity. Risk of severe flooding is increasing all the time and we need to ensure we are in a position to manage this.”