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Water flowing underground
same as it ever was
I don't normally do this sort of entry but 
23rd-Jul-2007 04:04 pm
too old to repent
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.
23rd-Jul-2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
This seems to be a problem everywhere, these days. The last time we were in Utah, visiting family, I was astounded by all of the brand new housing developments popping up on the floor of the valley... right over by the lake (you know, the one that routinely floods the entire valley floor). Sure, the last big flood was way back in 1984, but sheesh. That's only just over 20 years ago... you'd think *someone* somewhere along the way would have pointed out that building there was a really bad idea. It's just a matter of time before people are going to have to be rescued off rooftops there, too.
23rd-Jul-2007 03:56 pm (UTC)
It's a well understood affect and one that has been much in the news both here and in the States. I came across many articles from the US when I searched online. This is just one of them.
23rd-Jul-2007 04:54 pm (UTC)
First of all, your flooding problem finally made the nationa news over here. And we don't generally have a flooding problem in my part of the world but there is a "low area" around a nearby river that several years ago flooded so badly that the houses were actually knocked off their foundations. But then we have New Orleans and look what a damn mess that is!
23rd-Jul-2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the link. I suspect our floods have made your news because they pander to the media spin that climate change and global warming are the result of man's activities, rather than the severity of the crisis. I cringed at the 'could this be global warming?' rhetorical question that, far from 'everyone', very few are asking. More are asking 'why are we continuing to build on flood plains'.

Don't get me started on my 'show me the evidence for man-made global warming?' rant.
23rd-Jul-2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
Maybe they are doing this and it's just my Southern pov getting in the way, but what I don't understand is why all of these homes have to be built in the South, surely it makes more sense to put more money into re-generating Northern towns? Surely then people would be spread out a bit more.

23rd-Jul-2007 04:59 pm (UTC)
They're also building on flood plains in the North so the problem isn't limited to the South and Midlands.

surely it makes more sense to put more money into re-generating Northern towns?
Problem is that this results in 'service and leisure industry' type jobs and skilled workers living in the South and Midlands wouldn't relocate. Besides, there's a shortage of affordable houses in the northern cities as well. But at least there's more brownfield sites available since the heavy manufacturing industries died.

I'm sure I posted this reply earlier but it's not showing.
23rd-Jul-2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
I thought that might be the case, but all I ever hear about is the Thames corridor.
23rd-Jul-2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
The weekend before last it was Yorkshire that was being evacuated.

How's the revision going?
23rd-Jul-2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
My cousin lives in Hull, but we haven't heard anything.

The revision is overwhelming, I still have a quarter of the material untouched and I need tor review some of the old bits. I have the practical tomorrow, that bit is done.

I keep being distracted by Life on Mars. I even had the first twitching of a plot bunny today...
23rd-Jul-2007 05:24 pm (UTC)
Life on Mars finished ages ago. Will this plot bunny impinge on your bannergrab fic? Mine's still no further forward and plotless.

Have you read the DW/AtS crossover shinodabear wrote for me?
23rd-Jul-2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
>>Life on Mars finished ages ago

So? I've had Robin of Sherwood plot bunnies!

Seriously though, I only saw it for the first time last week and its filled my head.

>>Have you read the DW/AtS crossover [info]shinodabear wrote for me?

No. I've not really had time.

I'm not giving in to the LOM bunny, however tempting as it may be - I have Black Widow part two to do for seasonal_spuffy to do first and the WIP. The bannergrab story hasn't moved either, but I'll look at that after the exams are over. That at least won't be a very long story, whereas all the rest are monsters.
23rd-Jul-2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
I don't know about other countries but I do think it is time to face up to the fact that the UK can not support the large numbers living here - and I'm not just referring to those we know about, but also the thousands upon thousands that the government admits it has no records of.

The more we concrete over the land the less chance there is of water reaching the water tables by seeping through when it rains. Building defences in one area merely passes the problem onto somebody else. I could ramble/rant about this for hours but will content myself with passing on this link - http://www.optimumpopulation.org/opt.toomany.uk.html - which I found to be of interest and sounding fairly sensible.

*hugs* xxx
23rd-Jul-2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Building defences in one area merely passes the problem onto somebody else.
My point exactly.

As for the population growth. It's been known for a long time that it has a lot to do with Immigration and yet no government has had the balls to call a halt in the way other countries have done long ago.

The only country I know of with the opposite problem was Ireland and that is beginning to reverse as the numbers of Former Eastern Block flock to the country to fill its skills shortage. It's a little like the UK in the early 1950s when there was a shortage of workers.
23rd-Jul-2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
when there was a shortage of workers.
Trouble is that there still is. Unless you actually forcibly move people around the British Isles for work regardless of things like where their spouse works, or where their kids are at school. Or force them to take the jobs like fruit picker, toilet cleaner etc.

Many of the elderly of the UK would die of neglect if there were not Eastern European, African and Phillipino nurses willing to work at below NHS rates to care for them in nursing homes. And despite the number of Uk trained nurses being put out of work by NHS cutbacks, getting rid of all the foreign ones and forcing those into the posts would still not fill all the posts.

Not that I believe in willy-nilly immigration, but you could probably better justify making divorce much harder and forcing people to live more than one to a property as a way of reducing flooding.

If there were a higher number of people per housing unit there would be less need to build more. Also ban all second homes - this would open up a lot of buildings to be lived in permanently and reduce the need for further building.

Also insist on planning permission for tarmacking your garden - and not allow it 90% of the time, but instead insist on that stuff you can park on but the grass can grow through it.

And, of course, limit building on flood plains. And insist that anything built there is either flats with parking on the ground floor, or 'town houses' with a garage on the ground floor and all living accomodation above. So flooding might affect your car, but not your living space.

Avoid ever buying a house whose address is 'River Rd.','The Mill Race', 'The Water Meadow' - all of which I have seen recently!
23rd-Jul-2007 08:04 pm (UTC)
you could probably better justify making divorce much harder
and getting and staying married much more attractive.

Trouble is that there still is.
I'm of the opinion that much of that would be alleviated by making it less attractive for the 'under class' to remain unemployed because the state provides such good benefits. When MWNN was a Headmaster in London, he could not get cleaners, despite offering above minimum wage, flexible working hours, and cash in hand.

We've become a nation that expects the state to provide and those of us who've saved for our retirement, subscribed to a pension scheme and are frugal with our spending are finding we're penalised for having done so.
23rd-Jul-2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
The spouse actually works for the Environment Agency, though in pollution, not water. He is somewhat miffed to say the least.

Just how reasonable is it to expect people to pay for houses which are uninsurable, anyway?

Stupid bloody government.
23rd-Jul-2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
I'm sure I replied to this comment but it hasn't appeared.

The gist of my reply was it's been going on for decades and not just this government that's to blame, though a lot can be placed at the door of John Prescott. He led the way in overturning the decisions of local people in favour of builders and speculators. He gave the go-ahead for a newtown to be built on Green Belt land West of Stevenage when, after public consultation and advice from various bodies about the strain on infrastructure and local services, the County Council had turned it down - twice.
23rd-Jul-2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'm originally from Florida and most of the state is overbuilt, a lot of it on unsuitable land that inevitably floods but of course at that point the developers have gotten their money so who cares about the homeowners? There's a lot of pressure put on local governments and councils to approve permits for development under the argument that it's inevitable that "progress" must continue. But it really doesn't.
23rd-Jul-2007 10:58 pm (UTC)
it's inevitable that "progress" must continue. But it really doesn't.
I'm not against progress, what I resent is a government telling us what's best for society when what they're really doing is caving to pressure from the big money.

'Twas ever thus, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. I suppose I'm naive to expect more from the general public. They're meant to be so much better informed than previous generations but they let the media do their thinking for them.
23rd-Jul-2007 10:40 pm (UTC)
It's the same everywhere, I see.

We have a LONG history of floods near the Po river, and yet there is always someone who builds on the floodplains. Because it's cheaper, ah!
23rd-Jul-2007 11:01 pm (UTC)
there is always someone who builds on the floodplains. Because it's cheaper
They slip some politician or planning authority some 'backhander' (money that can't be traced) to gain planning permission after buying the land cheaply.
24th-Jul-2007 11:29 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for making this post. It just seems that the need for progress and the need for making money are having such a devastating impact on our environment. I can't understand how people don't see the huge problems how as you put it that building on reclaimed land will have - it just increases the problem tenfold. So much for wanting to respect the land! Sooner or later we'll all be reclaimed...
It puts everything into sharp relief having just finished "Waterland" as well.
24th-Jul-2007 11:52 am (UTC)
It's not reclaimed land that's under threat from developers in the main, it's natural flood plains.

Fenland poses a slightly different problem. When we kept the boat on the Middle Levels, we cruised through Benwick where houses, the church and the graveyard have all subsided thanks to the shrinkage of the fen soil. 'Waerland' certainly conjurs up the feel of the fens, but I found the book rather bleak and depressing which is something I never experience there. For me,the Fens is big skies and clear air.

You're right though about it being all about money. Many local councilors have taken backhanders and granted planning permission where they shouldn't. We had houses built close to us on what was green-belt farmland over 20 years ago, so it's nothing new. I still miss the sound of the cattle in the mornings and early evening. The tenant farmer is forced to keep them on fields that are a good three miles from the farmhouse now. He doesn't have many and isn't a dairy farm but they can no longer be described as 'the house cows'.
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