Earth Trust chosen as environmental partner for Oxford Flood Scheme

We are pleased to be collaborating with the Environment Agency as environmental partner for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme over the next 3 years, to advise and enhance the long term benefits of this major project for Oxfordshire.

Oxford has a long history of flooding, with significant floods in recent decades causing devastating effects. The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will reduce the risk of flooding by lowering the existing land (mostly farmland and flood meadow) to the west of Oxford, creating more capacity for flood water. The design will create a new stream with a gently sloping floodplain of wetland habitat, grazing meadow and wildflowers running alongside it. Our role will be working with the Environment Agency on their plan for the long term environmental, climate and human health and wellbeing benefits of the scheme.

The scheme will create over 20 hectares of new wetland habitat and include areas suitable for cattle grazing. The habitat alongside the new stream will be landscaped to include around four hectares of backwaters, scrapes and ponds. These will have a variety of depths, dimensions and gradients to encourage biodiversity of wetland and aquatic wildlife. The new stream and its associated habitat will link up existing wetland sites. This will create a green wildlife corridor to the west of Oxford, further increasing biodiversity, and bringing additional benefits beyond reduced flood risk.

Ian Nutt, Director of Programmes & Partnerships said “Earth Trust is in a great position to work with the Environment Agency because we will help deliver a holistic way of working, to engage people with the creation and ownership of this major green space programme. We are really encouraged to see the scheme will be tackling so much more than flooding, delivering additional benefits to the environment, economy and human health.”

Our involvement with the project will help the Environment Agency plan how to make the most of this unique opportunity for people and nature. We will be supporting their public engagement agenda, including creating a living laboratory, where there will be lots to monitor, learn and share as the new wetland habitats develop. Input from other local environmental interest groups will also be vital in helping to achieve this, to ensure that the new landscape and habitats are carefully maintained for the lifetime of the scheme (100 years) and beyond.

Jon Mansbridge, Funding Benefits and Realisation Manager said “The Environment Agency and our partners are really excited to be working with Earth Trust to further develop our existing plans to maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will deliver. We hope this new partnership will create the perfect foundations for the long term management and operation of the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme, which will enable a true environmental legacy for the residents of Oxfordshire”.

Over the coming months we will be sharing more about our involvement in this project, ways to get involved, and the impact we hope to have. For more information you can visit the Enironment Agency website