I have just found out that the long-promised scheme to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Ock in Abingdon has been put on the shelf due to a significant increase in the estimated cost.

A promise to the people of Abingdon has been broken.

The Environment Agency have been working with the Vale of White Horse District Council, Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Regional Flood and Coastal committee on the scheme to reduce the risk of flooding in Abingdon.

The news that this essential scheme has been dropped is a shock. Not least because, as the local MP, I wasn’t properly informed about such an important decision, only being informed by a reference to it in a routine newsletter.

Nor has there been an explanation to local residents: I am furious, as I’m sure are all who live near the Ock.

This part of Abingdon has a history of flooding in recent years. Many will still remember the impact of the 2007 floods when 400 households were affected along with several local businesses.

Families had to leave their homes, in some cases for months, and had to cope with all the stress and disruption that followed. In some cases this meant children having to move schools and often long waits while insurance companies and their contractors repaired homes.

The scheme was also promised to the community in part to relieve the worries many had over possible run-off from the £150m Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Now it is important to be clear on this point, the Environment Agency models do not suggest there would be any run off. However when the bigger scheme was announced many residents contained their scepticism because the Abingdon plan was part of the package.

So why has it happened?

Money, of course. The estimated cost went from £5m to £10m.

I will be putting the pressure on the EA, the Vale, county council and regional flood committee to explain why the costs have risen so much and why they cannot make provision for a scheme of this importance.

The extra money was found when the estimated cost of the Oxford flood alleviation scheme went up by £30m so I would hope similar effort could be put in for Abingdon.

I call on the organisations involved to find a way to reinstate the scheme as matter of urgency, or to set out an alternative.

On a separate note, my constituency team has now completed its office move to Abingdon and has new contact details. If you need to get in touch with us about local issues then you can find us at: Unit C5, Grange Court, Abingdon Science Park, Barton Road, Abingdon, OX14 3NB or by telephone: 01235 522535.