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COMMENT: Dredging up the funds for flood defence will take time
9:00am Saturday 15th February 2014 in News
DREDGING has become the buzzword of the moment. What caused the floods? Not enough dredging. What is the answer? More dredging.
Perhaps six weeks ago many people did not even really know what it was.
But the long-voiced fears of farmers about waterways not being cleared and the impact this has had on the general flood risk has been echoed by others.
And now the Prime Minister has admitted that more needs to be done to dredge our waterways.
What went wrong and why officials decided keeping our rivers clear was not important remains largely unknown.
In addition, we now need to see exactly what will be done to sort the matter out.
Mr Cameron has pledged to help flooded farmers here with a national scheme that will offer only small sums.
The PM has said that “money is no object” in tackling the floods.
The question for the county is whether this will really be the case.
A number of schemes will soon begin in an effort to improve flood defences.
But clearly, as the Witney MP has admitted, dredging has been neglected for years.
What will be done in the short-term may offer some help.
But a long-term plan involving large sums of money is obviously needed.
And, as city and county leaders and MPs have said, a scheme such as the £123m flood relief channel many are calling for may well be the answer.
Whether Oxfordshire will get that kind of investment remains to be seen.