New development flood risks


17th December 2020

Residents in Chalgrove, Shiplake and Bampton are concerned that housing development plans do not take into account local knowledge regarding flooding.

Local campaigners have highlighted various fundamental issues such as natural springs and surface water run-off. Additionally, land type, the presence of aquifers and reliance on private landowners to keep ditches clear appear to be unaccounted for within planned flood mitigation measures.

Flooding can lead to overwhelming of drainage infrastructure and raw sewage entering our rivers.
Windrush Against Sewage Pollution (WASP) are campaigning to restore the health of the River Windrush, which flows for about 35 miles through Gloucestershire and into Oxfordshire where it meets the Thames. The Environment Agency allows Thames Water to release sewage from its treatment works into the river Windrush after extreme weather events.  The concern is that these events are happening increasingly frequently, with poor monitoring of exactly what is happening on the ground and the potentially devastating impacts on the river and its wildlife.

In October 2020 Oxford City Council backed a motion to apply for a section of the River Thames to become a bathing water area. The Council called on Thames Water to provide real-time data of where and when sewage works were overflowing so that anyone using the river for recreation would know the health risks.

CPRE is aware that other Oxfordshire villages may be facing similar concerns and we would be interested to hear from other communities struggling to get to grips with developers’ Flood Risk Assessments and/or Drainage Strategies. CPRE Oxfordshire has produced a Technical Bulletin to help respond to drainage issues when commenting on planning applications. Download your copy from our website here.  

BBC South Today have recently covered the issue, featuring CPRE Oxfordshire and campaigners from Chalgrove, Bampton and Shiplake. Watch it on YouTube here.