Flood barriers back to protect Osney Island

Oxford Mail: Environment Agency workers build flood barriers in West Street on Osney Island yesterday Buy this photo Environment Agency workers build flood barriers in West Street on Osney Island yesterday

WITH just one day to go until Christmas, flood barriers have gone up in Oxford and there is more rain on the way.

Environment Agency staff installed flood defence barriers on Osney Island yesterday and Oxford City Council also put up defences in Bullstake Close, West Oxford.

Both the agency and the council said this action was a precaution, although these were the same areas that faced flooding during last months downpours.

Over the weekend, the number of Oxfordshire flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – reduced from 23 on Friday to 19 on Saturday and 13 yesterday.

But yesterday the Environment Agency also issued the county’s first flood warning – which means flooding is expected – on the River Thames from Shiplake to Bolney Court, near Henley, including Lower Shiplake.

Michael Lawrence, forecaster for the Met Office, said that about 10mm of rain had fallen in Oxfordshire from noon on Saturday to noon yesterday.

Between 10mm and 20mm of rain is expected in the 24 hours from Sunday afternoon into today.

Residents who were badly affected by flooding in Oxford last night said they were not concerned yet as the emergency services and the Environment Agency had done such a good job of helping them last time.

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Miranda Jones, 65, of West Street, Osney Island, said: “I think that in Osney we’re now very well looked after, and these barriers kept the water out of the street in November.”

Of those putting up the flood barriers, she added: “I would like to thank the authorities because it is very labour intensive.”

Teresa Puttock, 54, of Bullstake Close, said: “To be honest we are not worried at all because they kept us dry last time and they did such a brilliant job last time.

“We just hope it doesn’t spoil their Christmas.”

But Ann Sloper, 74, also of Bullstake Close, said: “It still doesn’t stop me from feeling really scared.”

She too saluted the workers putting up the barriers.

“If we didn’t have people like them we would be in a right mess. I don’t really know how to thank them.”

Lower Road in Islip and Chipping Norton Hill, north of Ascott-under-Wychwood, were closed yesterday due to flooding.

Surface water was reported by Oxfordshire County Council on a number of other roads, including the B4022 Witney to Charlbury road between Hailey and Fin-stock.

Flood warnings boards were placed by county council’s staff on several roads, including: the B4022 at Hailey; Main Road in North Newington; Fox Lane in Wootton, Abingdon; Witheridge Hill in Stoke Road; Oxford Road, Horspath; the B4020 Shilton Road, Burford; the B4000 south of Watchfield; and Lower Road in Eynsham.

Oxford United’s npower League Two game against Fleetwood Town on Saturday was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at the Kassam Stadium.

West Oxfordshire District Council has made sandbags available for residents who are concerned about possible flooding of the homes.

For details of collection points, see westoxon.gov.uk/ environment.

Rain is forecast today with dry, cloudy periods. Christmas Day is expected to be brighter with some showers.

Met Office forecaster Mr Lawrence said: “The amount expected is not massive, but in places the ground is quite saturated.”

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