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Growth Board welcomes call for long-term flood defence investment

The Oxfordshire Growth Board has welcomed the recent Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report on flooding and the need for greater long-term investment in flood defence maintenance to deliver lasting resilience for our communities.

In a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice, chair of the Growth Board Emily Smith also called for a national standard for flood resilience.

Flooding represents one of the greatest climate challenges for the UK, and while the Growth Board is determined and committed to reversing the impacts of climate change through the emerging Strategic Vision, record levels of rainfall will continue to disrupt and devastate our communities, families and businesses as a result of this crisis.

Unfortunately, with the recent floods across Oxfordshire earlier this year, our communities have of course already been reminded of our vulnerability in this area.

The Board set out its agreement with the Select Committee that the Government must establish a long-term resource budget settlement, aligned with increased capital investment, so that the Environment Agency and our local councils could effectively plan for and maintain local flood defences.

It also highlighted the need for action to ensure that water services utility companies, in our case Thames Water, can be held to greater account at a local level, especially with their regular failure to clear up sewage.

While this is unfortunately a year-round issue in Oxfordshire, it is of particularly concern during periods of flooding.

Encouraging Thames Water to form closer partnerships with local authorities to address flood mitigation issues on their network is also a key part in achieving further improvements to the local response during flood events.

You can read the full letter here.

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