Floods may be the ‘new normal’

Oxfordshire County Council have announced a multi-agency flooding summit will take place in March, after floods severely affected many parts of Oxford and the county in recent weeks.

The council want to bring together relevant organisations to discuss flooding in Oxfordshire, and work to reduce the risk to homes, businesses and transport links.

It is scheduled to take place on March 21, and comes after flooding has hit the county four times in the past decade.

Cllr Rodney Rose, cabinet member with responsibility for flood risk management, said: “We have now had significant floods two years running, so we may have to face up to flooding as the ‘new normal’ in Oxfordshire.

“That is why I want to make sure that all the relevant organisations come together as soon as possible to learn lessons from these floods.

“The aim of the summit is to bring together every organisation with a role in reducing the risk of flooding, and agree a way forward.

“We all know that public money for flood defences is limited, so it is very important that we put on a united front in Oxfordshire to get a share of whatever national investment is available.”

Water levels in Oxford have receded since their peak at the weekend, which saw major routes into the city including Botley Road and Abingdon Road closed because of flooding.

Both have now reopened, but several flood alerts remain active in the area, including on the River Cherwell from Lower Heyford to Oxford.

Others in Oxfordshire include Ginge Brook in Steventon and Sutton Courtenay, the River Evenlode from Moreton in Marsh to Cassington, the River Glyme at Wootton and Woodstock, and the River Thames at Oxford, Abingdon and Henley.

The Environment Agency is advising communities in the region to remain aware of the potential for further flooding, stating it will be several days before river levels are back to normal.

Some temporary flood defences remain in place in Oxford, with more rain forecast in the coming days.

For updates on flood alerts, go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk.