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Oxford MPs press for work to cut flooding risk

Munday_B.jpgOxford MPs join forces to get progress on increasing capacity of Hinksey Drain to ease flooding pressures.

Local MPs Nicola Blackwood and Andrew Smith have written a joint letter to Network Rail chief David Higgins to press "the importance and urgency" of works at Munday's Bridge, Kennington.

In their letter the MPs voice concern that the project -- which also involves The Environment Agency, Thames Water and local councils - "has been delayed because Network Rail have not yet agreed to take over the riparian ownership of some of the land that residents are giving up".

The MPs are also concerned that "recent meetings scheduled between Network Rail and contractors Optimise were cancelled." The MPs point out "As well as the benefits to local residents and the reduced risk of flooding in a wider area, Network Rail and rail users would benefit from the scheme as it will improve the reliability of services, recently disrupted by the flooding which these works will help reduce."

The Oxford Flood Alliance has been pressing for these works for some time, and work was supposed to take place last summer.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood said: "These works are vital for reducing flood risk for residents of both Kennington and South Hinksey but they will also benefit communities further upstream which is why there is no time to lose in getting them underway as soon as possible."

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: "The improvements at Munday's Bridge will help water drain faster from South Oxford as a whole, cutting flood risk for residents as well as lessening the danger of disruption for rail travellers, which makes it all the more bizarre that Network Rail are dragging their feet."

Both MPs say "It is good to have all the local agencies working together on this project, and it is not acceptable for Network Rail to be delaying the works."

A copy of the MPs' joint letter to Network Rail Chief Executive David Higgins can be viewed here.

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