Environment Agency bosses are continuing to make progress with the £150m flood channel for the city as they plan their work for 2021.

The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is creating a channel running around the west of the city, to prevent flooding in low lying areas like Botley Road and Abingdon Road, which have seen bad flooding in the past.

A series of groundworks around the south of the city, including an archaeological survey, have been finished by scheme’s managers, to pave the way for a replacement A423 Kennington Bridge over the railway tracks.

Read again: Tribute to Dr Peter Rawcliffe who fought to combat flooding

While the £150m scheme is still being prepared, the partners who are helping to construct it, including Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency, and Oxford Direct Services have been testing flood barriers and pumps.

Jon Mansbridge, Environment Agency flood risk manager, said: “We are making good progress with the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme that will provide increased flood protection to 1,100 properties in and around Oxford.

“It will incorporate a new stream with a gently sloping floodplain with added benefits of a new wetland habitat, grazing meadow and wildflowers.

“This year we have successfully completed environmental and archaeology surveys throughout the scheme area.

thisisoxfordshire: Flooded fields where the Oxford Flood Alleviation Channel could be situatedFlooded fields where the Oxford Flood Alleviation Channel could be situated

“We have also completed a programme of new surveys and ground investigations around the A423 Kennington bridge.

“In 2021, we will continue to work closely with Oxfordshire County Council to redesign this section of the scheme so it works most effectively with the replacement bridge.

This information will be used to prepare the updated planning application for the scheme.”

A planning application for the flood alleviation scheme was originally submitted to Oxford City Council in 2018, but this was withdrawn.

There were a number of objections to the scheme, including those from a large number of landowners whose fields faced compulsory purchase orders.

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The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is a major new project being led by the Environment Agency working together with nine different partners.

It will create a new stream and wetland wildlife corridor to the west of Oxford.

This will reduce flood risk to homes, businesses and transport in Oxford, while also bringing additional environmental benefits to the local area.

Oxford has a long history of flooding and in recent years Botley Road and Abingdon Road have been shut due to flooding on a number of occasions.

Significant floods in recent decades have caused internal property damage to homes and businesses and closed the railway and major roads into the city.

In the face of increasing flood risk due to climate change, the scheme will provide a long term solution to manage flooding in Oxford for the next 100 years.

The scheme is designed to cope with major floods of a scale Oxford last experienced in 1947.

This is far bigger in size than any of the floods the city has experienced in recent decades.

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It is one of the biggest flood schemes planned in the country and the Oxford Flood Alliance, founded in 2007, has worked with the Environment Agency on the proposals for the channel.

thisisoxfordshire: Flooding in Botley RoadFlooding in Botley Road

Dr Peter Rawcliffe, one of the alliance founders, died last month aged 72 following a short illness. He was instrumental in the creation of the Oxford Flood Alliance in 2007, which has worked closely with the Environment Agency and other bodies on the proposals for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

He was also alliance chairman. Simon Collings, of Oxford Flood Alliance, said: “Peter was a founding member of the alliance and he played a pivotal role in the organisation. He did a great deal to advance the interests of flood affected communities in Oxford.”