Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme - Welcome

Closes 1 Dec 2024

Opened 17 May 2021



Introducing the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme



What is the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme?

The Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme will create a new stream with wetland wildlife corridor to the west of Oxford to reduce flood risk in the city and surrounding areas. 

The scheme will reduce flood risk to all properties in Oxford currently at risk of flooding from the River Thames, as well as to the railway, local roads including Botley and Abingdon Road, and utilities and services such as broadband. As well as directly benefiting residents this will keep the city open for business in times of flood, helping protect Oxford’s thriving economy. The scheme will also bring additional environmental improvements to the area, including creating new wetland which will link up existing wildlife sites. Wetland habitats support plants and animals adapted to living in a wet environment and are in decline across the country. Creating over 20 hectares of new wetland and around 16 hectares of floodplain meadow throughout the area will be a valuable benefit of the scheme.

The new stream and grazing pasture and gently sloping wetland will blend into the existing landscape and work with the natural floodplain. The stream and lowered ground alongside it reduce flood risk by creating more space for floodwater away from built-up areas.

Visualisation of the new stream

Impression of the new stream, viewed from Devil's Backbone

The scheme will be approximately 5 km long, starting just north of Botley Road and passing under the A423 Kennington Railway Bridge (Southern by-pass) to the south before re-joining the River Thames.

This major project is being led by the Environment Agency working together with 9 organisations dedicated to reducing Oxford’s flood risk and providing wider benefits to Oxfordshire. Our scheme is designed to cope with floods of a major scale, to help protect the city in coming decades as flood risk increases with climate change. The scheme forms part of a wider programme to improve flood resilience being planned by the Environment Agency across the Thames Valley area.

The scheme partners are:

  • Environment Agency
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Oxford City Council
  • Vale of White Horse District Council
  • Thames Water
  • Thames Regional Flood and Coastal Committee
  • Oxford Flood Alliance
  • Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership
  • University of Oxford
  • National Highways

Latest news

We have made our Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme. A CPO is a legal process that allows land, property and rights of access to be obtained from a landowner when there is a compelling case that the land is needed in the public interest and can only be applied for where land or access is vital for a scheme to function. It is normal practice when planning a scheme of this scale to run a CPO to ensure all land essential to the working of the scheme is acquired.

If you have not been contacted by us regarding ownership or access to land but think you should have, please email us. More information on the CPO process and compensation can be found on the CPO system page. The CPO documents can be found on our Updates page.

The planning application for the scheme has been submitted to Oxfordshire County Council as the local planning authority. The council held an online public consultation from 7 April to 9 May 2022 and subsequently submitted a Regulation 25 request for further information about the application. The response to this has been submitted and the council will hold a consultation on our response in due course. All the information submitted to the council is available on the Oxfordshire County Council ePlanning system. The planning reference is MW.0027/22.

You can read our e-newsletter to find out the latest updates for our scheme. Email us at Oxfordscheme@environment-agency.gov.uk to request to be added to our mailing list to recieve our e-newsletter directly in the future.   

Next steps

The flood problem in Oxford will get worse with climate change and it’s only a matter of time before we see a major flood. We want to ensure Oxford’s communities are as protected as possible from the increased floods we’ll see in coming decades. This is why we’re working to bring a sustainable long-term solution to the city. Our aim is for the new stream and wetland wildlife corridor to be a cherished asset for the local community, benefiting people and the environment for decades to come. We will need to obtain planning permission in order to proceed with the scheme and value the support of local communities in achieving this.

Approvals needed before construction of the scheme can begin


Next page: Background and benefits

Stay in touch as the Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme progresses:




  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Academics
  • Environment Agency customers
  • Environment Agency colleagues


  • Flood management
  • Habitats and wildlife