Over 6 days from 23 June to 3 July the Environment Agency and its partners are running a series of drop-in sessions at various locations in and around Oxford. There will be information on display and experts on hand to talk to. Everyone interested in their work is invited to attend.
As well as information on how work has progressed since the Environment Agency first unveiled its flood risk management strategy in 2009, visitors can also find out about the next steps and likely timescales. A key aim of the sessions is to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to talk directly with the technical specialists about the scheme, which will include a new flood relief channel.
We really want to hear and act on peoples views on this,
said Joanna Larmour, Project Director for the Environment Agency.
The primary role of a flood relief channel will be to reduce flood risk of course. But we also want to ensure that any scheme would be as natural, wildlife-rich and attractive as possible.
Representatives from all the organisations working on the flood alleviation scheme will be present. Cllr Rodney Rose, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said:
Plans for the flood alleviation scheme are progressing well, and now is a good time to listen to residents about their ideas and expectations from the project. As lead local flood authority, the county council strongly supports this scheme. We also believe that there are things we can do right now to reduce flood risk, which is why we are supporting many smaller scale schemes around the county.
Residents who come to these events can find out more about things they can do in their own properties and communities to reduce the risk of flooding.
All the events run from 2.30 pm until 7.30 pm. Dates and locations are as follows:
Tuesday 23 June at Kennington Village Hall
Thursday 25 June at Abingdon Guildhall
Friday 26 June at West Oxford Community Centre
Tuesday 30 June at Oxford Town Hall
Friday July 3 at South Oxford Community Centre
The team is also keen to understand peoples thoughts for the proposed channel, and what new environmental features could be incorporated to sustain existing animal and plant life and boost Oxfords existing rich and internationally important range of habitats.
Although a lot of good work has already been done, the project is still in its early appraisal stage. Further work still needs to be carried out, relevant approvals gained (such as planning permission), and more funding secured before construction work can start.
Cllr Matthew Barber, Leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said:
This scheme is extremely important for people in Oxford and the Vale of White Horse. Flooding in recent years has caused a huge amount of disruption to the area and to peoples lives, so the quicker we can have a lasting solution in place the better. I urge residents who live near the Thames to go along to one of the events to see how the scheme will affect them and provide their feedback on the proposals.
Everyone attending the events will be invited to join a mailing list to receive regular updates on progress, invitations to future events and be notified of any consultations. This includes the official public consultation on the bypass channel route and design which the team expects to take place towards the end of this year.
Anyone not able to attend an event can join the mailing list, ask the team a question or request information by emailing the project team here.
For more information on the Oxford flood alleviation scheme visit GOV.UK.