THE floods are causing chaos – that much is clear. But why is our system creaking at the seams?

Oxford – old and beautiful though it may be – does not have the modern flood defences that it needs. If it did, the city would not grind to a halt every time water levels on the River Thames rise.

Next month, a bid could be made for funds towards a multi-million-pound scheme that could make things better.

Will it work? That remains to be seen. But we need a plan if this city’s credibility isn’t to be called into question.

Infrastructure is a dull but important subject, and Oxford’s needs updating.

How many other cities in the UK suffer in the way Oxford does like this when the heavens open? Not many.

It is no criticism of all those who have been working around the clock across Oxfordshire this week to alleviate the worst effects of flooding.

Without them, and without the measures taken since the deluge of July 2007, the situation would be much worse.

But all that aside, major roads cannot shut down like this because of the weather.

The plan being talked about now was first floated four years ago. This week’s events suggest that a greater sense of urgency is needed.

Until this happens, Oxford, one of Britain’s great cities, will always be missing something vital.