THE Government has pledged to provide as many pumps as necessary to keep Botley Road open.

The promise was revealed by county council leader Ian Hudspeth after talks with Eric Pickles.

But the council leader admitted it will be a challenge to keep the road open if flood waters keep rising.

Fire officials have deployed more than 60 firemen on the route in the wake of its closure during last month’s floods.

A pump has also been brought in from Warwickshire and another from Banbury, while the Government has pledged to offer as many pumps as are needed to keep the road open.

Firefighters say they are working around the clock to keep the waters at bay. One team was yesterday on Binsey Lane pumping water away from the street on to the flood plain.

Watch manager Don Crook said: “We are continuing to manage the flood water that’s coming out on to the road.

“Our main role is to keep the Botley Road open and to provide support to the area. Certainly we have not experienced any issues that we haven’t been able to cope with, but we’re expecting to be here for the next few days.”

The county council has not revealed how much more money has been put into tackling the flooding on Botley Road – but there is a much bigger presence now than during last month’s floods.

Teams of firemen are working in three main areas – near McDonalds, at Binsey Lane and opposite Osney Island.

There is also a fourth team working in conjunction with the city council in Bullstake Close.

Station manager Guy Dunkley said: “Our aim here is to keep the main route open by keeping flood water off the Botley Road.”

Mr Hudspeth said: “It all depends on the rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours.

“The Secretary of State [Eric Pickles] has promised us all the pumps we need to carry out this operation, but it will be a challenge if the water keeps coming.

“We are looking at how we can best get the water away and how we can pump it downstream but keep Botley Road open.”

He said the county council is also looking at running pipes across Botley Road and putting a temporary road over them.

Officials say Botley Road is being closely monitored by fire crews 24 hours a day.

Crews are diverting the water off the main road through the use of three large pumps on different sections of the road.

John Graham, 70, of Botley Road praised the fire crew on Binsey Lane near his home.

Mr Graham said: “It is so much better organised than last time. The flood levels have gone down by more than an inch overnight.”