Failure to clear river fuels fear of flooding

Bicester Advertiser: Roy Partridge surveys the flooded River Evenlode near his home at Cassington Mill Roy Partridge surveys the flooded River Evenlode near his home at Cassington Mill

EVERY time the rain pours and flood warnings flash up, residents of Cassington Mill hold their breath.

Neighbours of the Evenlode river in West Oxfordshire say the levels are getting higher, and they fear for the safety of their homes.

Roy Partridge, an 87-year-old former fitter, lives at the Mill House, and claims their situation is the result of years of inaction on the part of the Environment Agency.

He said: “We will have been here 53 years in June, and when we first came here it was the responsibility of the Thames Conservancy, but now the Environment Agency will not dredge the river.

“Our back mill pond is over half full of rubbish, with willow trees a foot in diameter growing out of it.”

He said landowners nearby have been told it was their responsibility to dredge the river as it runs through their land, but said it should not be their responsibility.

He said: “Why should the riverbank owners pay to put the rivers right, after successive organisations have let them get into such a mess?”

Barry Russell, from the Environment Agency, said the organisation prioritised large-scale flood alleviation schemes, like the one in Banbury, over costly dredging.

He said: “Undertaking dredging on a long-term basis is a very expensive operation to do.

“In years gone by the budget and manpower we had was very different, and we didn’t have the same understanding of flood risks.”

Mr Russell said the EA had carried out an investigation across the UK, including at three sites in Oxfordshire, which revealed only short-term benefits of dredging.

He said: “It’s far more cost-effective for us to invest in physical assets.”

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He added that Cassington wasn’t near the top of the EA’s priority list for flood-prone areas.

In Banbury, residents breathed a sigh of relief after multi-million-pound flood defences protected their homes after heavy rainfall in December.

The £14m project was built in order to protect around 500 homes after they were badly flooded in the summer of 2007.

Comments (4)

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12:17pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Arkright says...

Dredging is only expensive now because the EA no longer has the equipment, having to contract it out to private companies, which, surprise surprise, is more expensive.
Dredging is only expensive now because the EA no longer has the equipment, having to contract it out to private companies, which, surprise surprise, is more expensive. Arkright
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Tue 5 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Sadly, one unwanted effect of flood defences can be that if sussessful at one lication, they often just push the chaos and misery elsewhere along the riverbanks and fields. Equally sad is that successive national governments have failed to invest - not just in flood defences, but more especially in helping fund river and canal management which includes regular dredging. Living near to rivers has always been a liability - today, that liability has also become Planning Authorities, both local and national government and associated Agencies, who collectively seem more on saying what they can't or won't do. Where were they in the decades before 'global recession' started devouring the UK economy in 2008, and where were the likes of 'two Eds better than one Gordon Brown' Miliband and Balls, when Labour threw a lifebelt to save the Bankers, but allowed ordinary people to sink or swim in an ever-increasing number of flood disasters from 'global warming' and totally inept water management?
Sadly, one unwanted effect of flood defences can be that if sussessful at one lication, they often just push the chaos and misery elsewhere along the riverbanks and fields. Equally sad is that successive national governments have failed to invest - not just in flood defences, but more especially in helping fund river and canal management which includes regular dredging. Living near to rivers has always been a liability - today, that liability has also become Planning Authorities, both local and national government and associated Agencies, who collectively seem more on saying what they can't or won't do. Where were they in the decades before 'global recession' started devouring the UK economy in 2008, and where were the likes of 'two Eds better than one Gordon Brown' Miliband and Balls, when Labour threw a lifebelt to save the Bankers, but allowed ordinary people to sink or swim in an ever-increasing number of flood disasters from 'global warming' and totally inept water management? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

6:56am Wed 6 Feb 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Amazing, I said this on here some time ago and was shot down in a blaze of fire by people screaming what a wonderful job was being done DURING the flooding of clearing culverts, weirs etc.

It matters not how much is cleared during the flooding as more will be washed down to replace what's moved it HAS to be cleared when there is no flooding and kept clear to help prevent flooding. Common sense, something the Environment Agency and Councils clearly lack.
Amazing, I said this on here some time ago and was shot down in a blaze of fire by people screaming what a wonderful job was being done DURING the flooding of clearing culverts, weirs etc. It matters not how much is cleared during the flooding as more will be washed down to replace what's moved it HAS to be cleared when there is no flooding and kept clear to help prevent flooding. Common sense, something the Environment Agency and Councils clearly lack. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

5:10pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe wrote:
Amazing, I said this on here some time ago and was shot down in a blaze of fire by people screaming what a wonderful job was being done DURING the flooding of clearing culverts, weirs etc.

It matters not how much is cleared during the flooding as more will be washed down to replace what's moved it HAS to be cleared when there is no flooding and kept clear to help prevent flooding. Common sense, something the Environment Agency and Councils clearly lack.
The answer is easy. just dam all rivers at their source.
[quote][p][bold]Sandy Wimpole-Smythe[/bold] wrote: Amazing, I said this on here some time ago and was shot down in a blaze of fire by people screaming what a wonderful job was being done DURING the flooding of clearing culverts, weirs etc. It matters not how much is cleared during the flooding as more will be washed down to replace what's moved it HAS to be cleared when there is no flooding and kept clear to help prevent flooding. Common sense, something the Environment Agency and Councils clearly lack.[/p][/quote]The answer is easy. just dam all rivers at their source. Grunden Skip
  • Score: 0

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