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MP wants plan to avoid repeat flood

MP Ed Vaizey has called for an action plan to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by widespread flooding in Abingdon, Wantage and surrounding villages close to the river Ock and Letcombe Brook.

Mr Vaizey the MP for Wantage met with key officials from the Environment Agency and told them he wanted to see more monitoring of rivers and brooks in order to better predict where future floods will happen and a more comprehensive drainage systems for future developments. Present drainage systems said Mr Vaizey were "wholly inadequate" and not built with any risk of severe flooding in mind.

He said: " I want to see all new schemes proposed on flood plains, or against Environment Agency advice, called in by central government. I also support a call by the Vale of White Horse District Council for grants to be considered for homeowners who wish to alter their properties to protect them from flooding."


Farmers could be asked to play a more active role in flood prevention. Mr Vaizey said he would like a scheme to be considered to enlist local farmers in the important work of clearing ditches and brooks.

"The Government should consider urgently a scheme to allow farmers, who already get grants for environmental work, to apply for grants to clear ditches and brooks in villages."

He said it was clear that the Environment Agency was "stretched to the limit" after it had its maintenance grant cut last year. In the future resources would be concentrated in urban areas like Oxford, Witney and Abingdon. Villages, warned Mr Vaizey, might end up getting less protection.

And floods have thrown up another major concern - building on flood plains. Increased developments at Grove, Didcot and Abingdon feature high on the list of anxieties voiced by residents. One of the major fears of objectors to the proposed large scale housing developed planned for the old airfield at Grove is flooding.

Mr Vaizey said: "Despite assurances from the Environment Agency, I still believe the huge developments being planned in Grove, Didcot and east of Swindon could increase the risk of flooding. If these developments are imposed I hope the Government will call them in. I will be waiting to see the Flood Risk Assessments for each area. "

9:00am Thursday 9th August 2007

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Posted by: Ewan Larcombe, Datchet, Berks on 9:46pm today
The Environment Agency built a flood alleviation scheme here recently. Costing 110m the Jubilee River was of substandard design and construction, and when used for the first time it dumped floodwater onto the defenceless villages downstream. It was the subject of a 2.75m out-of-court settlement and is still awaiting repair and unable to carry its design capacity. Furthermore the Thames in this area has not been dredged for flood defence purposes since 1995. My point is that the Environment Agency have abandoned watercourse maintenance (i.e. dredging) in favour of 'flood risk management' a process that can be conducted from a keyboard in a safe, warm, dry office
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