On May 24, a workshop to evaluate decision-making processes for investment in flood risk reduction schemes, was organized in Oxford. The meeting, jointly promoted by the Flood Hazard
Research Centre at Middlesex University and the Oxford Flood Alliance, was part of the FLOOD CBA 2 project.
The FLOOD CBA 2 consortium had the chance to meet with the Oxford Flood Alliance, the Environment Agency, and the Chair of the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, to discuss decision-making processes, with participants sharing experience from across the EU. The meeting heard talks from David Cotterell of the Environment Agency, Adrian Porter of the Oxford Flood Alliance and Jeremy Biggs of the Freshwater Habitats Trust, as well as two presentations on suburban flood problems in Lisbon, Portugal and Ecija, Spain.
The proposed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, which involves a major bypass channel in the Oxford Floodplain, served as a UK case study, with delegates visiting the proposed route which runs from Botley Road, to downstream of Sandford Lock, passing the villages of North Hinksey, South Hinksey, and Kennington. The floodplain, which is predominantly used for agriculture, has been built on in the areas adjacent to the Botley Road, and also at Grandpont. These developments are now at risk of flooding, especially as flood flows are likely to increase with climate change.
The current proposal for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will see the excavation of a very shallow “scrape” in the flood plain. This will deepen the floodwaters, creating a less peaked hydrograph as floods pass the city. The design aims to avoid channeling excessive volumes of water downstream to Abingdon.
The meeting concluded that while flood safety can never be fully guaranteed, a broad-based decision process is necessary to appraise flood risk reduction options, in order to ensure they are economically efficient, environmentally friendly, and socially acceptable.
You may see the the full agenda of the workshop here