July 23rd, 2007

too old to repent

I don't normally do this sort of entry but

I wish someone would seriously challenge the government's statement that it would be 'unrealistic' to stop building on flood plains. The suggestion that measures would then be taken to minimise the risk of flooding is further indication of humanity's arrogant belief that we have risen far above our ape-ancestors and can control our environment.

Flood plains are nature's safety valve. Build on them and you create not only a risk to the houses built there, you spread the risk further afield. The notion of improving drainage is laughable. Where is the flood water meant to drain to when the land itself is below water level?

"Eight hundred and sixty-one homes and businesses in Lewes were devastated by flooding in October 2000. After the event the Environment Agency told us that "The devastating impact of the flood was because large numbers of properties have over the years been built on the floodplain." The Agency went on to say that we should be removing buildings from the floodplain rather than thinking about further development. Seven years on the last flood-damaged building has just been reoccupied. But outline planning permission has been given for 125 homes in the floodplain and applications for more than a thousand are in preparation. "

As long-time boaters on the inland waterways of England and France, MWNN and I are very aware of the devastating power of a river in flood. We've met the Grim Reaper a number of times (Billing Bridge on the Great Ouse in the Winter Floods of 1996, the inner harbour and control lock at Calais in 2000, and Vandieres 3 on the Marne in 2000, come to mind.) and, only through sheer luck, have escaped largely unscathed.

Throwing millions into constructing man-made defences while allowing natural ones to be compromised seems to me to be another instance of Canute believing he could hold back the waves.

irishnoodles If you're able to see this and little else, it's because this is a public entry and LJ is not keeping you logged in.