A GOVERNMENT minister has not ruled out funding a £160m channel around Oxford to tackle flooding.

Minister for Water Dan Rogerson told Labour Oxford East MP Andrew Smith the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) would consider the plan.

Mr Smith asked if the Government would fund a flood relief channel to divert flood water around West Oxford.

Mr Rogerson said: “Decisions on funding for flood management projects are made by the Environment Agency, based on criteria agreed with Defra.

“If, and when, a viable business case can be made, it will be considered under the normal criteria.”

He said: “The Environment Agency is working with Oxford City Council to assess the effect of a western conveyance channel on flood prevention together with other possible options for reducing flooding in Oxford.”

The channel would run from the Seacourt Stream north of Botley Road to the River Thames at Sandford Lock.

Mr Smith commented: “Those controlling the purse strings for flood defences in Oxford need to wake up to the reality of flooding in our city – now happening with a regularity which is the cause of untold human misery.

“I shall be stepping up the pressure on the Government, the Environment Agency and Thames Water, both to get the go-ahead for the western conveyance, and accelerate smaller scale measures to cut flooding risk.”