Following the January 2014 floods, the Environment Agency has been working with their partners (Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, Vale of White Horse District Council, Thames Water and the Oxford Flood Alliance) to explore and test all options for a technically, environmentally and financially viable scheme that will reduce flood risk to residents and businesses in Oxford.
One of the options is to deliver improved capacity in the western floodplain of Oxford with a new flood relief channel.
The Environment Agency is continuing to gather the evidence needed to gain approval from Defra, HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office. They are currently consulting on their draft case, which (if approved) will allow them to proceed with the full detailed appraisal of the scheme.
If approved by Defra and HM Treasury, and subject to funding availability, a new channel and/or altered existing channels would work with the natural processes of the river to reduce the risk of water entering homes, businesses and disrupting transport links during a flood.
There is still a significant amount of investigation required to enable the business case to be prepared and at present a scheme has not yet been approved or designed. The earliest that approval will be given for a scheme to go ahead will be spring 2018.