The Environment Agency has secured partnership funding from the Vale of White Horse District Council and the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (RFCC) to progress work to reduce flood risk in Abingdon. A number of options are being considered, all of which include a potential flood storage area at Abingdon Common with possible complementary measures such as natural flood management and property level resilience to further reduce flood risk.
The Rivers Ock, Thames, Stert and the Sandford Brook all contribute to flooding in Abingdon. In July 2007 over 400 residential properties and 20 commercial properties flooded internally. In 2017 the Environment Agency built a flood wall to reduce flood risk to St Helen’s Mill. They have temporary defences available to deploy in Potenger Way, Tower Close, Meadowside and Hermitage Road. They have also carried out modelling and surveying, and ground investigation work.
Using improved techniques and the latest flood data, the Environment Agency have updated the flood modelling for the River Thames and the River Ock. They will use the results to update their planning flood map later this year.
Flood storage area
The modelling results have been used to help review the options to reduce flood risk in Abingdon. These results have found that all the feasible options include a flood storage area at Abingdon Common. However, there is still a significant amount of investigation required, and a scheme has not yet been designed or approved.
The area which could be used to store flood water at Abingdon Common is floodplain and farmland. The Environment Agency have been meeting with local landowners to share the modelling results and the proposed options. To complement a flood storage area the Environment Agency are also looking into the benefits of natural flood management in the wider catchment and property level resilience.
Natural flood management
Natural flood management is when natural processes are used to reduce the risk of flooding, for example restoring bends in rivers, slowing the flow, tree planting and changing the way land is managed so soil can absorb more water.
The Environment Agency have looked into the benefits that natural flood management could offer. The results show that, in combination with a flood storage area, natural flood management would be effective in reducing flood risk. Natural flood management would also bring environmental benefits and could help reduce flood risk to smaller communities upstream.
Property level resilience
Property level resilience is a way to reduce flood risk to individual properties. This is done by installing products such as flood doors, door barriers, automatically closing airbricks, non-return valves and sump pumps to reduce the amount of water getting inside the property.
- March 2018 to March 2019 – Development of the flood storage area design and modelling. Continue to investigate complementary options.
- Spring 2019 – Planning application submission.
- End 2019 – Full Business Case approval.
- 2020 – Estimated construction start date subject to approvals.