New maps will pinpoint areas prone to flooding

Witney Gazette: Peter Rawcliffe, of the Oxford Flood Alliance Peter Rawcliffe, of the Oxford Flood Alliance

A SERIES of flood maps which will help Oxfordshire residents understand the risk in their area will be made available later this month.

The flood maps will be based on updated information of where flooding is most likely and it means anyone will be able to find out what the risk is for their home by typing in their postcode.

Peter Rawcliffe, of Oxford Flood Alliance, said the maps could be a useful guide for people buying houses.

He said: “I think more people now are flood-aware, so if they are buying a house people are checking for that sort of thing more. The flood maps can provide useful guidance to people on whether a house they are buying might flood.”

But Mr Rawcliffe, whose own home in South Hinksey has been flooded, expressed concern that the maps were being relied upon too heavily for flood insurance.

He said: “If they are not used intelligently, the maps can be a bit of a menace.

“A street can be billed as flooded but some of the houses there have never flooded.”

In June the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs reached an agreement with the Association of British Insurers to guarantee affordable flood insurance to households in flood-prone areas.

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Last November, downpours led to flooding across the county, with Abingdon Road in Oxford closed off and sewage backing up into homes. It was the worst flooding to hit the city since 2007 when families in West Oxford were forced to evacuate.

The maps, which are being updated as necessary, show areas which are prone to flooding in blue, with flood defences and the areas which benefit from them in purple.

Environment Agency spokesman Hayley Willoughby said: “The Environment Agency is developing new flood hazard and risk information, which will help members of the public and our partners better understand the risks of flooding.

“Due to be launched before the end of the year, the new flood hazard and risk information will use the latest data, technology, and modelling techniques to create summary risk maps to help householders and businesses better understand how likely it is to flood where they live or work.”

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