Page last updated at 07:18 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Waterway may bypass flood problem

The plans on display
The plans would see tributaries would be redirected around the city

Plans to build a 100m waterway round Oxford to help prevent flooding are to go on show to the public.

The Environment Agency said it came up with the plans after looking at ways to safeguard low-lying areas from rising water levels.

The proposal is to join several tributaries together from Botley Road to Sandford Lock and redirect their course around the city.

The plans can be seen at Oxford Town Hall for 12 weeks.

The channel is an element of the Flood Risk Management Strategy.

More than 3,600 homes and businesses currently lie in the Oxford floodplain.

The new watercourse would link enlarged sections of existing streams with newly excavated river channels.

The Environment Agency said it would be designed to blend with the local landscape and it is consulting with environmental charities to minimise the impact on its surroundings.

A floodwater storage facility could also be housed upstream.

If plans get the go ahead construction could start by 2013.

Geoff Bell, area project manager at the Environment Agency, said: "We need to hear from the public on what they want us to do.

They are the local experts. They have had to live with flooding and the floodplain. They are the ones who will benefit.

"Visitors to Oxford are often surprised to learn that there are no formal flood defences for the city. Our proposals offer the opportunity to set that right."

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