It is difficult to believe that anyone  really imagined that Oxford University was waiting to plough money into the proposed £125m flood relief channel, created to the west of Oxford.

Something in the region of £84m has so far been secured for the channel but the idea that the university would help to make up the shortfall of £40m could only be based on the wildest optimism.

The university has every reason to see flood defences – just like many businesses – put in place to avoid main access routes into the city from being regularly closed. It also owns land at Egrove Park that would be affected by the proposed channel.

But to expect it to divert money from teaching and research, particularly with so many issues about the relief channel still to be answered, is unrealistic.

It is worth noting, however, that the university is not merely turning its head from Oxford’s flooding defences.

t is in fact offering some of its own land for a section of the proposed channel work, which let us not forget is likely to be as wide as the River Thames in some places, running from Seacourt Stream, north of Botley Road, to Sandford Lock, south of Oxford.

The offer of land is generous and could avoid legal difficulties and huge additional financial costs. But in any case what organisation, educational or otherwise, would want to guarantee money for such a massive scheme about which we still know comparatively little.