SANDBAG bunkers provided across West Oxfordshire after the devastating 2007 floods proved popular when rivers rose in the past two months.

The district council joined forces with parish councils to install purpose-built bunkers in Ascott-under-Wychwood, Burford, Charlbury, Clanfield, Milton-under-Wychwood, Northmoor, Shipton-under-Wychwood and Standlake.

David Harvey, West Oxfordshire Council’s cabinet member for environment said: “We felt that providing sand and bags in rural communities where people needed them in an emergency was the best thing we could do. Over the past few weeks they have been extremely well-used.”

Northmoor Parish Council’s clerk, Michael Ryan, said: “It is reassuring to know there is a stock of sand and bags.”

The district council has put £25,000 into the scheme and plans extra bunkers in Bampton and Woodstock.

The bunkers can hold eight tonnes of sand and were topped up in January and February with 17 tonnes of extra sand delivered.

Ready-filled sandbags are also available from the council depot in Witney.

After the floods risk has passed, residents can return unused bags to the bunkers to be emptied so the sand and bags can be reused.