Philip Hammond MP, South East Floods Minister, returned to South Hinksey for an update on progress with funding and delivering the Oxford & Abingdon Flood Defence Scheme as well as temporary flood defences to protect the village.
Philip Hammond last visited South Hinksey as Defence Secretary when, after five floods in fifteen months, the village was under water yet again last winter. After much lobbying, Nicola had managed to mobilise the Cabinet Office, Environment Agency, Emergency Services and Army to build an urgent temporary flood defence around the village. Completely protecting villagers from flooding for the remainder of the winter and spring.
Since then, Nicola has fought alongside residents and councillors from across the constituency to get funding for long term flood defences but also to improve flood maintenance by setting up a landowners forum between the Environment Agency, the NFU, the County Council and riparian landowners.
Now the Oxford & Abingdon Flood Defence Scheme has attracted £100m out of £140m it has been given the green light and work will begin on the defence scheme which will permanently protect 7600 homes and businesses in Oxford, Abingdon and the surrounding area from flooding.
The project will take at least eight years to build, however, so villages at high risk of flooding, like South Hinksey, need access to temporary flood defences in the meantime and at last the Vale of the White Horse District Council and Environment Agency have confirmed that defences will go ahead for South Hinksey and should be in place in time for next winter.
Nicola says It is great to have the Regional Floods Minister here reiterating his backing for the Oxford & Abingdon Defence Scheme and the temporary defences we need so badly for South Hinksey. He knows just how disruptive and exhausting flooding is for our local communities because he has been here with me and seen it first hand. Now though, thanks to the hard work of local residents, the OFA, the Environment Agency, the County Council and others at last there is both the political momentum and the funding to ensure thousands of local residents and businesses will be protected from flooding in the future.