FEW need reminding of the severe flooding Oxford has been devastated by on a handful of occasions since the turn of the century.

It may be harder to envisage flooding given the heatwave and drought we have experienced over the past month.

But one only has to go back to the end of May to find Botley Road almost completely under water and many other parts of the city hit by torrential rain and surface groundwater.

The threat of flooding is very real, and all the more real for those victims who have seen their homes damaged on several occasions.

There has also been opposition to the idea of a flood channel itself, and those voices deserve airtime – after all, £120m is an awful lot of money and public money at that.

However, the scheme is so far along and so much has been done up to this point in terms of gathering the funding, planning and designing the channel, that those dissenting voices are unlikely to win out.

So attention must turn to the construction – which will take three years.

It is not surprising there are concerns surrounding this, as it is pretty difficult to imagine a scenario in which a project on this scale does not encounter problems.

Oxfordshire County Council’s highways team has taken issue with the timing of the scheme and feared it could clash with a number of other projects.

The road network in and around Oxford is so temperamental that delays on just one key route into the city can cause havoc everywhere.

The channel’s construction will begin up by Seacourt Park-and-Ride and move down towards Kennington and Sandford Lock.

As luck would have it the beginning of the build will clash with the Botley Road Corridor project to improve the road for cyclists and pedestrians.

To make matters worse, the latter stages of the construction will coincide with a major project at Hinksey Hill Interchange.

You couldn’t make it up.

These sort of clashes seem to happen more often than they should in Oxford (they should never happen at all) and at least this time the problem has been flagged up beforehand.

Now the issue has been raised, the ball is in the Environment Agency’s court and we will soon learn whether they wish to avoid causing total gridlock across the city for three years.

Most organisations, landowners and stakeholders have backed the channel in principle, given the importance of its overall aims.

But there remain a number of key issues that need to be ironed out.

One of the biggest concerns, particularly with the increased pressure on the A34, may be congestion – a problem that can’t afford to be exacerbated in Oxford.