Flood Alleviation Scheme update | University of Oxford

Flood Alleviation Scheme update

The proposed Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is making steady progress. Over summer the Environment Agency, leading the project, applied for planning permission from Oxfordshire County Council. It hopes to get a response by the end of the year, allowing construction to start in 2019.

The £121m project secured funding in early 2018, with £65m of central government finance along with contributions from other stakeholders. The scheme is designed to reduce the risk of flooding to all properties already in danger from the Thames in Oxford.

The University, recognising the impact of flooding in the city, has been closely involved with the project for several years. The scheme also benefits the University’s joint aspiration with the City Council, County Council and the Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership to unlock the potential of the Osney Mead industrial estate by developing it into a world-class research and innovation quarter.                                 

Many parts of the city have experienced major damage several times in recent years. The proposed construction work will reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses, preventing damage and distress. It will also help to keep road and rail links open and protect essential services such as electricity and broadband from disruption.

To keep track of the latest developments, including future citizen science project and surveying opportunities, visit:


 Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme – the environmental vision

The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme is designed to deliver environmental benefits beyond reduced flood risk.

Working closely with local wildlife and environmental groups on an ambitious Environmental Vision for the scheme will provide a true green legacy to the area  establishing a wildlife corridor to the west of Oxford.

The scheme is designed as a two-stage channel. This will lower part of the natural floodplain to allow more flood water to move across undeveloped floodplain reducing flood risk in Oxford's built up areas. A narrow first-stage channel will be formed by a natural looking stream – this will always be wet. A wider and shallower second-stage channel will take water during floods.

The first-stage will create new habitat for species that thrive in running water. Work to improve the overall watercourse quality will ensure the new channel has a greater range of ecological features than currently exist.

The second-stage will create at least 22 hectares of new priority habitat. This will be used to create floodplain grazing marsh for cattle. This is a new habitat type for the scheme area and will increase habitat diversity. Other wetland features will be created during this stage to maximise available habitat for wetland and aquatic species.

Two hectares of rare floodplain grassland will be carefully removed from Hinksey Meadow, and replanted. Seeds taken from existing local sites will create a new meadow of nearly 18 hectares.

The scheme’s tree-planting proposals will result in more woodland. Sewn with wild flowers, the area will encourage insects, birds and foraging bats.