A NEW trial has been launched to calculate how much money the flooding has cost Oxfordshire.

The initial estimate by the county council is that costs from flooding over the past two weeks will run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

But a spokesman said it was too early to give a specific amount.

A new online portal, called the Severe Weather Impact Monitoring System (SWIMS), launched by Kent County Council, is being trialled for the first time by Oxfordshire County Council in the wake of the floods.

County council officer Nick King presented a report about the portal at a meeting of Oxfordshire Environment Partnership at South Oxfordshire District Council offices yesterday.

He said: “We are actually spending about £700,000 a year on the impact of heavy rain. SWIMS is a website portal on which information can be entered when there has been an event like flooding to tot up the costs.

“It is about collecting the long term information so it can be used to support more investment in things like flood defences.”

County councillor David Nimmo-Smith, cabinet member for environment, said after a significant trial period it will be reviewed before a decision it made whether to adopt it.

He said they expected to publish the results on the county council website after the trial ends in March.

Meanwhile communities are being urged to form Community Action Groups (CAG) to set up action plans to combat flooding.

Mr King added: “It seems natural that those affected by flooding should want to get involved.”

Chairman of Oxford Flood Alliance Peter Rawcliffe said: “I think it is a very good idea – we can’t expect the county council to be everywhere and local people know their own areas far better.”

Nominate your heroes

PEOPLE across Oxfordshire have suffered as a result of the recent
flooding. And we would now like you to nominate your flood heroes so we can feature them in the Oxford Mail.
They could be council officials who have spent hours standing in the cold to pump water away from properties.
Or they could be neighbours and community leaders who have made a special effort to help out.
You can nominate your hero at oxfordmail.co.uk/news/floodhero or by post to Flood Hero, Oxford Mail, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ with the nominated person’s details, why you are nominating them and your contact details.