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Flood Control: Oxford

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Environment Agency has taken to divert water on to farmland adjacent to the River Thames above (a) Oxford and (b) Reading to avoid urban flooding. (153847)

The Environment Agency has not taken any such steps.

During periods of moderate flow, all the weirs on the River Thames are operated to maintain the upstream water level—or headwater level—at, or close to, the standard headwater level for each weir. Standard headwater levels are set by the Environment Agency in connection with their statutory powers as the navigation authority for the River Thames.

After periods of wet weather, Environment Agency staff progressively open the gates of each weir as far as necessary to accommodate any increase in flow while still maintaining standard headwater level.