‘New flood defences are excellent news’

9:00am Friday 8th February 2013

By Freddie Whittaker

HUNDREDS of homes will be protected from flooding after an £8m boost for flood defences in Oxfordshire.

Eleven new schemes yesterday got the go-ahead thanks to £8,772,000 from the Government.

The projects include new barriers to stop homes flooding, improvements to drains and refurbishments for weirs as well as assessments for future work.

But organisations responsible for the projects were last night unable to confirm exactly how some of the money would be spent.

A £2.5m flood defence at Marston and Northway is included in the plans. The city council last night confirmed it would involve underground water storage tanks.

Projects will also go ahead at Witney, Wendlebury, Bicester and Oxford’s Florence Park.

Neither Oxford City Council nor the Environment Agency was yesterday able to confirm how the money would be spent.

Cash has also been made available for property protection barriers in Alvescot, near Carterton, and for drainage improvements near the Thames at Kelmscott, along with £4.5m work to improve and maintain weirs at Osney, Godstow and Iffley.

Officials said the schemes, all set to begin this year, would help protect 444 homes in the county.

The Government has been criticised by the Labour party for not spending enough on flood defences, but the work has been welcomed by flood victims.

Georgina Gibbs, from the Northway Residents’ Association, said she cautiously welcomed the investment, but said drainage problems in the area would have to be sorted before any scheme was put in place.

She said: “It’s good that they’re doing this, I’m all for it, but the drainage system needs sorting out.”

South Hinksey resident Maria Banks, 46, protects her home with flood defences of her own, but said the announcement would be welcomed in the village.

She said: “It’s excellent news. Flooding affects the whole village, even if your house doesn’t get flooded you still struggle to get your car out when it does flood.”

The 11 schemes are part of a raft of 93 announced yesterday.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) hopes to be able to protect 164,000 homes by 2015 through flood alleviation measures worth £294m.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “The 93 schemes given the green light today will bring huge relief to tens of thousands of homes and businesses that have lived with the fear of flood waters hitting their doors.

“They can get on with their daily lives and work knowing that there are well built defences.”

Last night no flood alerts or warnings remained in place for Oxfordshire, according to the Environment Agency.

WHERE THE MONEY IS GOING

THE flood defence projects being funded:

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