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Keeping Oxford's roads open during flooding

Plans to keep roads in Oxford open during heavy rainfall and flooding are set to be unveiled.

Oxfordshire County Council is aiming to use high volume pumps to clear water during severe weather, and keep the roads open for as long as possible.

Areas most prone to flooding will be specifically targeted.

Parts of Oxford were badly hit by flooding in January 2014 Credit: ITV Meridian

"This is an interim plan to keep the road infrastructure open as long as physically possible during severe weather. We have developed the plan having learned from flooding in previous years. We will begin by using a high volume pump to keep the Abingdon Road open by pumping the water onto nearby land and into the Thames.

"In Botley Road we have actually inserted two six inch pipes under the road so we can pump the water onto the flood plain and into the river. In Binsey and South Hinksey we will be using pumps to get the water off the roads and back onto the adjoining land. We are doing this in a particular order to ensure we don't cause problems elsewhere in the city and surrounding area.

"All the agencies involved will be working and sharing equipment to keep Oxfordshire PLC open for business, allowing large and small companies to thrive and relocate to Oxford with confidence.

"Significant flooding forecasts have greatly improved and river levels are monitored electronically so this plan will be put into place when flooding is forecast. We can't guarantee that these roads will never flood again as no one knows what mother nature might throw at us but there is now a much greater chance of the roads staying open."

– Deputy Leader of Oxfordshire County Council Rodney Rose

Soup kitchen calls for volunteers as budget cuts loom

A soup kitchen in Oxford is appealing for more volunteers amid fears council cuts will make it busier than ever.

The community kitchen in Cowley is open twice a day and often feeds up to fifty people. It doesn't get any funding from the council - but is worried drastic changes in frontline services will put it under extra pressure. Kate Bunkall reports.

The interviewee is Icolyn Smith from the Oxford Community Soup Kitchen.

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Mother's warning after boy swallows lego piece

Keane swallowed the green lego piece by accident Credit: Laura Halls

The mother of an eight year old boy who almost choked to death on a piece of Lego, is warning other parents to be extra vigilant.

Keane Halls from Oxford needed emergency surgery after a small block lodged in his windpipe when he tried to pull two bricks apart with his teeth.

ITV Meridian spoke to Keane's mother Laura.

Statement from Lego

"At the LEGO Group we put product quality and safety as our highest priority. We naturally deeply regret the very unfortunate and unpleasant experience of both the parents and child in the specific case, and we are happy to hear they are doing fine despite the experience.

"As a company we adhere to the strictest toy safety standards globally and even go beyond legal requirements in our internal quality and safety standards that we apply to our products, to ensure the safety of children when they play with LEGO bricks.

"Despite the very stringent safety measures we take, we do not recommend that children put LEGO bricks in their mouth. On LEGO boxes containing small parts we make aware, that these may pose a potential choking hazard. The text is written alongside the age marking that indicates that these products are not suitable for children aged 0-3. In many sets we also include brick-separators – small tools that enable children to separate most LEGO bricks in a safe manner if they are unable to do it with their hands.

"We are grateful for all the feedback we receive from consumers around the world and we use this to improve both our products as well as product related communication."

– Spokesman for Lego

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Member of drugs gang jailed

Aaron Wright was sentenced to more than four years in prison Credit: Thames Valley Police

The eleventh member of a drugs gang which operated out of South Oxfordshire has been jailed for more than four years.

33 year-old Aaron Wright pleaded guilty to a number of drug offences.

His sentencing comes a week after ten of his co-conspirators were sentenced to a total of 70 years.

“These conspirators made substantial amounts of money supplying drugs across the South of England and beyond.

“Disrupting this extensive supply chain and sending those involved to jail for a long time has been extremely satisfying for all of us who worked on this series of investigations. I would like to thank all the police officers and staff for their efforts.

“This has been a lengthy and complex case involving a lot of hard work over a sustained period of around 18 months. This involved liaising with officers across the country and also in Spain in order to bring these offenders to justice.”

– Det Insp Rachel Wheatman, from the Thames Valley Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit

University of Oxford welcomes Vice Chancellor

The University of Oxford officially welcomed its new Vice Chancellor today - the first time a woman has been installed to the post.

In her first major speech she criticised the over-regulation of higher education - and promised to spearhead moves to attract a wider range of students.

Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford met the woman who now has the job of preserving the performance and prestige of the dreaming spires.

New Vice-Chancellor sets out her agenda

Oxford University’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson Credit: Christine Alsford

Oxford University’s new Vice-Chancellor, Professor Louise Richardson has set out her agenda for a fast-moving University with the capability to transform lives globally.

Speaking as she was installed as the 272nd Vice-Chancellor in Oxford’s history, Professor Richardson called on the University to show ‘agility’ in an era of globalisation and technological change.

She also urged colleagues to maintain a long-term perspective in addressing the challenges of the future.

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