Oxford flood alleviation scheme river surveys


Proposed by the Environment Agency, a new channel will be excavated to the west of Oxford to reduce the risk of flooding to property and critical infrastructure. A number of environmental surveys have been undertaken in relation to this scheme within the study area to provide the Environment Agency project team with sufficient data to understand the baseline environment before any works begin.


We have undertaken both River Habitat Surveys (RHS) and River Corridor Surveys (RCS) of over 13km of watercourses surrounding the city of Oxford to provide a baseline of current watercourse conditions. The survey methodologies are very specific and detailed, with an accredited River Habitat Surveyor used to complete surveys in line with Environment Agency guidance.

The surveys collected data on the geomorphological condition including flow, current physical features and substrate, the surrounding land use habitat types and botanical interest of the river corridors surveyed. To give a detailed overview of the river corridor, all aquatic plant zone communities were recorded and mapped according to RCS methodology to show their distribution within the survey area. Plant communities were categorised between the bank zone, marginal zone and aquatic zone.


The data collected will be used to inform the Water Framework Directive (WFD) Assessment of the site. The survey data will also be used to allow informed decisions to be made by the Environment Agency’s design team to reduce the impacts on existing watercourses by the scheme, and to maximise biodiversity gain within the new proposed channel.

Want to know more?

Email Rob Harrison, one of the few accredited RHS surveyors in the country, for more information on this project. You can also find out more on our environmental services web pages and the catchment and river restoration web page.

Why not take a look at our ecology and environment training courses? Topics include environmental awareness, fundamentals of hydroecology and SuDs and biodiversity.

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