Memorandum submitted by Oxfordshire County
Council (FL 126)
LETTER FROM JOANNA SIMONS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE,
OXFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL TO RT HON ANDREW SMITH MP, 17 SEPTEMBER
I refer to your letter dated 24 August concerning
the forthcoming inquiry on flooding and apologise for the delay
We have been involved in discussions with the
Districts and the Environment Agency about lessons that we can
learn about our immediate response and also thinking about longer-term
Drawing on our discussions can I suggest the following
are considered by the enquiry:
the ability of the Environment Agency
to fund major flood defence schemes in the light of increased
risks following climate change.
the balance between major flood defence
schemes and smaller local schemes, recognising the need for value
for money in all cases.
a review of the adequacy of monitoring
systems available to the Environment Agency.
a review of the usefulness and accuracy
of early warnings provided by the Environment Agency (not sure
about this, they are reviewing this themselves)
assistance available to householders
to protect themselves from flooding.
implications of significant events
such as the July flooding for long-term damage to Transport Infrastructure.
review of Bellwin scheme particularly
in scope and also associated financial thresholds
whether responsibilities for local
drainage (ditches/gullies,etc) are too unclear and dispersed,
and whether there is need for legislative change and/or improved
local co-ordination arrangements
Assistance packages which are all
run separately by different departments with individual thresholds
Whether consideration should be given
to amending the building regulations to build in new standards
suitable for climate change adaptation (in particular in relation
to the less obvious areas such as drainage as well as the obvious
ones relating to property).
Knock on impact on the economy in
relation to agriculture and also (a particularly local issue)
the residential care market.
I also attach for your information a copy of
a report going to our Cabinet tomorrow which gives a bit of background
on the overall impact in Oxfordshire.
This was up to date when printed but I know
that the numbers affected in the Vale have gone up since then
as they have gathered more information from outlying villages.
The Oxfordshire Leaders Group also discussed
this last week and are particularly concerned about action that
is needed to help to make sure that the city and other districts
do not experience such difficulties again and they will be writing
to relevant Secretaries of State shortly. I will also write to
you again about this once the letters have been drafted.
I accept these points are quite varied, but
as you can imagine events such as the July flooding do have wide-ranging
We would be very happy to provide more detailed
comments if this is helpful.
Chief Executive, Oxfordshire County Council
1 Not printed. Back