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Resources agreed towards flooding action

Following the devastating July floods West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) has re-iterated that it wishes to see action taken swiftly and efficiently.

A full review is taking place and the Council has agreed to earmark up to 75,000 for additional specialist engineering resources to help identify land drainage problems, solutions and ownership responsibilities.

A further 50,000 is agreed for any urgent clearance work on ditches and drainage which are the responsibility of the District Council.

The Review started by identifying local issues of concern and there have been many meetings with town and parish councils and contact with residents. One of the concerns coming out of these meetings is the maintenance of ditches.

The Council will be working with the Environment Agency, the County Council, Thames Water and the NFU to identify and advise landowners on bringing up to standard their existing ditch networks and future on-going maintenance.

Those landowners who refuse to co-operate or are clearly placing properties at risk may find themselves the subject of enforcement action to protect local communities who have to suffer the devastating effects of their homes and businesses flooding.

Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Environment said, "Tracking down landowners of pockets of land or those of ditches which are boundaries is often complex, but is something that needs to be done."

Cllr Harvey also said that the causes of flooding are diverse; "Flooding can result from highways run-off, overflowing ditches, watercourses or rivers and water coming up from drains. Therefore different organisations such as the Environment Agency, Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Water Authority need to be involved in finding solutions.

West Oxfordshire District Council is doing its utmost to avoid a recurrence of the damage caused by flooding, but improved joint working is necessary to deal with ever-changing climatic conditions.

Posted : 16/10/2007 16:06:08

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