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« The greens and the fascists | Main | Happy Christmas! »

The EU's role in the floods

With a bit of luck, BH readers should by now have worked off the excesses of Christmas and be ready to return to the fray.

With flooding back in the news, I thought it might be useful to point readers to this very interesting piece from a couple of weeks ago, which considers the European Union's role in causing the floods.

[I]n order to comply with the obligations imposed on us by the EU we had to stop dredging and embanking and allow rivers to ‘re-connect with their floodplains’, as the currently fashionable jargon has it.

And to ensure this is done, the obligation to dredge has been shifted from the relevant statutory authority (now the Environment Agency) onto each individual landowner, at the same time making sure there are no funds for dredging. And any sand and gravel that might be removed is now classed as ‘hazardous waste’ and cannot be deposited to raise the river banks, as it used to be, but has to be carted away.

And all paid for by you.

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Reader Comments (65)

I was thinking along exactly the same lines just a couple of hours ago. When Somerset flooded the roles of the EU and the Environment agency, RSPB and others all fitted together to provide a catalogue of activities which actually favoured flooding of the land for the benefit of wading birds.Old, traditional practices that controlled all but the most extreme flooding were discontinued.

It seems that the Government agencies are not going to admit these things, the press no longer has the investigative skills or motivation to bother and the BBC is never going to make a connection between the flood crisis and the beloved EU.

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

I have just had the pleasure of listening to George Monbiot on Sky News, attributing all of this to climate change.

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterGalvanize

This truth is inconvenient for all the main political parties, so we will hear very little of it.

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

One more reason to tell the EU to get lost when (or if) the opportunity presents itself.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterLynne at Counting Cats

And here's the meteorological explanation for the floods, which has nothing to do with climate change.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Not the entire story obviously - but this image might well go viral....

And this one of the present jestream tells a good part of the story too....

Moonbat was quick out of the traps but then again he's probably wormed his way onto the "news" pundit speed-dial lists... to address the need to apportion blame to somebody rather than the variability of the atmosphere and consequent features of weather.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Registered Commentertomo

A study should be done on this. The volume of silt and gravel that has built up on certain river beds could be calculated along with any decline in the river banks. Then the volume of water, flow rates etc. Where will the funding for such a study come from? It won't be the government, either in Westminster or Brussels. Perhaps a wealthy benefactor will come forward. Is there a university willing to carry out such research, knowing how embarrassing the findings might be?

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek


It's far easier to set the 350+ Environment Agency PR folk + BBC on the matter... no actual evidence required.

Looking at the jet stream - it seems not unreasonable to think that but for a chaotic quirk - this could quite easily have been snow.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:40 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Act of god, and nature is a fearsome beast.

We can do so much better - if............. the political will is there but little will be done until we throw off the green yoke. However, the fury of nature is not ever going to be tamed.

The excessive climate pornography, its clarion BS emanating out of paper clip assessment [bureaucratic] agencies/centres. which are stuffed full of post normally educated 'eco warriors' and Common Purpose alumni. Yup and all are EU inspired but paid for via the coffers of HMG raiding the back pockets of the UK taxpayer. These "agencies" are primarily concerned with promulgation of the green dogmas, the most egregious of which is the EA.

The Lakes, the North West and Pennine areas of England have suffered a couple of months or more [ Paul Homewood would know] of pretty wet stuff but hey it's the wet or winter as we used to know it and besides the Jet stream is looming too and in some years of El Nino, rain - happens, and mankind hasn't ever conquered nature, nor will Gaia ever have need of bowing down to mankind. Like it or lump it.

Now, I can't really speak for the Lakes, love the area as I do but I only visit it and am not party, sufficiently clued up as to local land use changes. Though, I would presume that, the case and of the flooding in the Lakes region is not so dissimilar to our the plight in 'my' backyard.

I do see and note changes in my backyard - South, North and West Yorkshire. Where, in recent years the rivers; Aire, Calder and Wharfe have flooded far too often in the ± 20 years or so. Of course if you'll excuse the pun - land management has changed and not for the better I might add. The population shifts in the upper catchment areas of all the aforementioned rivers are indeed major contributory [there I go again] - factors in the changes to river discharge during times of severe spate.

Any number of gardens have disappeared to tarmac and as population has greatly increased in all built up areas in the catchments of West Yorks rivers so had the run-off. Despite 'townscape run off' now being acknowledged as a hazard to river storm flow - it still has not been fully addressed by the dolled up boys and girls siting in their offices in the EA which has too few engineers and far too many superfluous experts.

It has to be said, that, there is a great reluctance to deal with the factors on the ground - it is a difficult policy area - telling someone he can't pave over his own garden, why should he/she obey? Many council authorities are now cognizant [building regs'] of the run-off factor but over population, overruns and inundates their efforts


I point you to this, a glossy site given over to making some right calls for all the totally wrong reasons - huh but ain't it the way of Britain these days?

Within the Yorkshire region alone there is nearly 70,000 ha of upland peat soil, upon which a staggering 4,350,000 m of grips (drainage channels) have been incised. There is a real and pressing need to undertake restoration in the Yorkshire region in order to protect these precious carbon sinks. The partnership aims to substantially increase the amount of peatland restoration activity.

In May 2013, Yorkshire Peat Partnership announced that it has restored more than a quarter of Yorkshire’s peatlands in a multi-million pound project that aims to preserve vital habitats and help cut global warming. Around 100 square miles of Yorkshire’s precious peatlands have been restored in a multi-million pound project that aims to preserve vital habitats and help cut global warming by reducing the amount of carbon escaping from them into the atmosphere.

My highlighting bold....... more guff here

Bogs are great sinks for rainwater, draining the land in the upper reaches of river catchments was such a severe an alteration in land use I do not believe proper consultation nor appreciation was made of the possible consequences of facilitating such a drastic change on what were once vital inhibitors of water run-off, though when all is said, even bogs have a saturation point.

And lastly, I used to be able to watch regular dredging of the big Yorks rivers, this is no longer the case. In actual fact, I cannot recall seeing any dredging being carried out on a Yorkshire waterway since ~ three decades ago.

Thus, even before year zero in 2000 and the WFD - the EU enviro-s***birds had their hooks into the UK system if not in the riverine waters of Britain and there is a case to be made here for citing the privatization of the water companies, and the wrapping up of the Regional Waters Authorities into a - National rivers authority who got the green bug long before the EA stepped into with their puddled heads.

So, increased population, added to land use changes in towns all about river basin catchments, changes in regulation, lack of dredging and land use changes in the far reaches of catchments - and the green agenda......Are they totally clueless, stupid or do they [the EU and with their proxies in Westminster] wish regular flooding onto the streets of Britain?

Lordy, discerning the purpose of the EA is a task for us all - and then after the obvious - 'pecuniary interests' and a the much desired easy sinecure...attempting to divining just whose side the EA - are actually on and surmising then, it's not to much of a leap to grasp, that, the EA are not the side of the ordinary Brit.

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Now that Atlantic depressions are 'Named Storms' everything is far worse.

Imagine all the linguistic fun to be had by global warmongers with describing an Atlantic depression as the 'Worst Named Storm' since records began, or the fifth worst named storm since records.

Who decides on the worst names anyway?

Angela Merkel
Barack Obama, Blair, Brown

Global Warmongering is all about politics, so it only seems fair.

Dec 27, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

While it is easy for sceptics to mock the whole CAGW scare , and its easy becasue there are so many things that can be used to mock it . It can be said that it does have some strengths. and one of those is the way they pulled of the trick of moving from 'weather is not climate ' to claiming any extreme weather event is 'proof'
So that both more floods and draughts are now 'proof' of CAGW , in a 'heads you lose tails I win' manner .

I would be the first to acknowledge its very poor science and worse logic , but then this is not and never has been an argument about science nor logic and certainly not in a press ,such has the BBC, which even even tires to make such judgements . The trouble is following this approach the cause , and therefore the way to avoid the problem in the future , is neglected , when the bill is reckoned up has to the cost of the whole CAGW scare , this is one of the things that will be on it , along with the trashing of science and ironically the neglecting of some real environmental issue.

Which makes it a even great shame that those most responsible may never be presented with the bill , and the best with can hope for is they live long enough to see their life's work held up as a joke , a idea of how not to do science and political outlook that has no more of place in the modern world they those followed by Stalin, Hitler and Mao . And that cannot come a day to soon.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterknr

Cannot the issues raised above be broached at question time? If so, is it likely to happen, and if it does will it have effect?

I wish we had question time here on the western shore.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterjferguson

What should be the insurance industry's position if a significant proportion of the losses incurred are attributable to the lack of dredging and management of water courses?

Don't they have a statutory duty, via the stock exchange, to keep their shareholders informed if acts of legislation increase risks to the business?

Could be quite interesting, the industry having embraced AGW and its projected increased premiums.

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

@Green Sand

Perhaps Bish might invite a prominent member of The Institute of Actuaries to explore the statistical basis for insurance against natural events and how that has been tuned to deal with AGW?

I mean ... they have to have access to the numbers don't they? - then again, the consequences of The Water Directive might well bias observations of damaging events since its imposition - which would do the self fulfilling prophesy thing....

Dec 27, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Registered Commentertomo

This blog post is a good look at the issue, and contains links to the relevant scholarship:

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDredgingIsNotASolution

Floodplains are exactly that. The more fertile because when rivers flood they deposit alluvium which improves fertility. The downside being that these fertile areas flood during periods of heavy rainfall. Obviously, life is never that simple as tons and villages have expanded, as Athelstan mentions, and land use changes have complicated the situation.

The EA have been doing work in my local area. Where a river had been heavily dredged in the 1950s, the EA have attempted to restore the river bed with gravel for spawning fish, and also to allow the river banks to flood over farmland on the floodplain when necessary to reduce the flow further downstream where there is a major city. That seems quite logical to me, but I'm always happy to stand corrected.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

The elephant in the room is the way all the civil servants gold plate any EU regulation rather than doing what most other EU countries do which is ignore the bits that they don't like.

Here in my local area of France we have road side ditches and storm drains that are regularly cleaned out and where they lead into the local river that is dredged and the dredging is used to reinforce the river banks. In my village the roads in the upper part are graded to have a concrete centre channel to guide the rain water to the storm drains via large grids (in fact you can walk through the storm drains under the roads and houses) and this is a village with a less than 1000 population. At least once a year there is a very hard rain which can give about a 30 cm deep river past my house as the water flows down the mountain but in 20 years there has only been one house flooded and that was because they were replacing a lead water pipe with plastic and hadn't finished when it rained over the weekend.

I have heard some people 'experts' in the UK saying that dredging will only shift the problem further down stream, don't they realise that the full length of a river has to be dredged to do any good? I assume that there are no longer any engineers with that knowledge left in the EA so nothing will ever be done to alleviate the problem.

Dec 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

Flooding and building?



Dec 27, 2015 at 4:12 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand


I think you pointed out one of the issues. Flood defences often make flooding worse - in regions upstream or downstream from the "defended" area. Floodplains protected towns from flooding, but as the towns expanded, the flood plains were the most popular place to build and so river banks were protected and flood water either built up upstream, or more water flowed downstream and flooded there. This has been a major issue in North America because of the mixed jurisdictions involved. The Red River flows across the Canadian-US border and flood defences in Canada (toprotect Winnepeg) have made flooing much worse in the US. The Mississippi river flows through many US states which each try to protect their own cities, pushing the problem onto someone else.

Rivers are no respecters of boundaries and have to be managed along their whole length. This was probably a rationale behind the creation of larger environment organizations - which had unfortunate knock-on effects.

Dec 27, 2015 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

While it may or may not be true to say that the obligation to dredge watercourses has been put onto landowners, it is certainly true that any work on watercourses (such as dredging and removal of fallen trees and undergrowth that impede water flow) requires EA approval. Landowners can't just get on and do works as they see fit, despite often having all the equipment to do so, it all requires paperwork and licences to operate. Thus most just ignore it, the hassle factor of dealing with the EA is just too great. The last thing any farmer/landowner wants is the EA poking its nose into his affairs, so they all keep well away from anything to do with rivers and drainage work.

Dec 27, 2015 at 5:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJim

EU is a great tool for activists like environmentalists. EU MPs easily pass legislation which will cause floods or forest damage in another country. None is responsible. All kind of good is done, you pay the damages.

Dec 27, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterwert

The BBC told us this evening (tonight's (27 Dec) television news broadcast) and what can be done. Key factors they say are ...
: Flood Protection. £2.3 billion advocated over 6 years.
: Land use ... Are famers doing enough to hold back rainwater upstream? Are new homes being build on vulnerable areas?
: On top off all this is a changing climate. Warmer Air can hold more moisture, and that can mean more intense rain.

Oh dear. I'm surprised they didn't offer up a sacrificial lamb to throw into the the volcano to make it all go away. Until we as a society decide we are going to really do something effective about flooding, we will continue to see flooding.

Dec 27, 2015 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterrms


It is a human trait that many cannot accept that s**t happens - and that every effect has a cause... and that cause can be identified and therefore can be inoculated against to provide a remedy.

In reality, fully functional crystal balls are not available and in the event of some variability in weather a mixture of preparedness in terms of some modifying of the environment and emplacing resources to react are the only sensible steps to take. The mania of AGW / climate change and the associated hubris has twisted sensible provisions right out of shape.

Warmer Air can hold more moisture

indeed - by the look of the composite real time mapping / simulation stuff (here and here ) available the present weather exploited a not unprecedented jet stream swerve down south to Morocco pretty much - to pick up a load of water which came up and gave us a warm + wet episode in late December...

Flash flooding and intense weather have been around like forever. Much infrastructure and accommodation has been installed in places subject to the effects of pulses in precipitation - the debate surrounding their "protection" is profoundly dishonest - since 100% protection is impractical.

Once a volcano subsides the farmers generally move back in, the USA isn't planning a high sea wall to protect their east coast against a La Palma landslide tsunami - there's a scale of inconvenience from natural events that has to be addressed objectively While we've got the EU, BBC and the MSM framing the debate with the assistance of a host of eco-loon NGOs - this isn't going to happen any time soon..

Dec 27, 2015 at 10:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

How it can be 'unprecedented' if it happened last year too.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Another attempt to link the floods to climate change, from an RS-award winning author, no less.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS


with a name like that is her daddy Dale?

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:14 PM | Registered Commentertomo

I have heard some people 'experts' in the UK saying that dredging will only shift the problem further down stream[;] don't they realise that the full length of a river has to be dredged to do any good? I assume that there are no longer any engineers with that knowledge left in the EA so nothing will ever be done to alleviate the problem." --ivan


"The BBC told us this evening (tonight's (27 Dec) television news broadcast) and what can be done. Key factors they say are ... 'Are famers doing enough to hold back rainwater upstream?'" --rms

You have a lot of farmers there named Canute?

From the BBC to the EA and beyond, the stupidity is mammoth, Kafkaesque, inexplicable. But you're not alone; the entire world has fallen into the grip of the Wreckers and their media lackeys.

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

tomo, the photos and stories you linked to about building on the flood plain are an eye opener for those not familiar with the way Planning Applications are submitted with supporting evidence from experts, stating that the bleeding obvious won't happen.

With internet access to sanitised Planning Application files going back 10+ years, it may be possible to see some 'experts' cropping up on similar flood plain planning application files, at various Local Authorities. It can be lucrative work, and some local authorities are under pressure to bung in their quota of new houses somewhere.

It is so much easier to blame 'global warming' than greed and incompetence

Dec 27, 2015 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

tomo, in addition to Actuaries who calculate the 'odds', you have the Association of British Insurers. The ABI are the insurance companies. They are the ones who record the profits and losses over years and years. The insurance companies tend not to go bust. They may be paying out on flooding at the moment, but not for claims due to frost, freezing, burst pipes, icy roads, snow etc etc.

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Well, it appears that flooding of the rivers are back to pre-modern levels.

Isn't that a success for the greenies? Shouldn't the greenies have to pay for damages now?

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

ATheoK, some Greens will want to charge farmers for the alluvial fertiliser distributed on their fields. The Health and Safety brigade may want to charge farmers for removing the layer of dangerous toxic waste from their land, and carting it away to an approved site for safe disposal, because evidence of cow manure was found on an arable field, that must have come from a cow, in another field.

Soil ecologists will be frightfully concerned about all the drowned earthworms, forecasting doom and gloom unless a captive breeding programme is introduced, to reintroduce earthworms to the floodplains, where they have managed to introduce themselves for millions of years, without coaching in how to say "hello, I am an earthworm".

Townies, claiming to be Green, will go on countryside awareness marching courses, including death defying trips into the jungles of Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park, where a single step off the maintained footpaths could result in a speck of mud requiring to be cleaned off shoes. A crisp packet can block a rainwater gulley causing unpassable floods more than 10mm deep, necessitating the Fire and Rescue Services to get out their inflatables. Dangerous times for townies without wellies.

Dec 28, 2015 at 1:14 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"So when the models start confirming what you’re observing on the ground, then there’s some fairly strong basis for believing that we’re understanding what’s causing these weather shifts and these rainfall declines, and they do seem to be of a permanent nature…”
Thanks to Tim Flannery Australia spent $billions on desalination plants..which sit idle like green elephants

Yes political types will always find it easier to blame the weather Global Warming
..rather than understand reality is really really complex

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

I know this is a bit inconvenient for all of you....but the recent floods are almost certainly caused by AGW. Which is why no-one is listening to you 'skeptics' any more.

Dec 28, 2015 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

Monty...the 'floods' certainly aren't caused by AGW. You need to show the current rainfall is somehow unprecedented and completely out of pattern with previously seen precipitation to claim any chance of causation. The floods have been caused by poor planning, building in the wrong places and the beloved EU's dredging policies. The rain...well that's another matter. My pound is firmly on Mother Nature.

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshireRed

Monty shows a good demonstration of the lack of thought involved in environmental activism.Flooding is inconvenient for everyone but blaming the flood on the wrong thing not only lets the guilty off scot-free, it helps prevent a proper solution.

In fact there may even be a climate change causing wetter weather. This much has been noted by meteorologists as a recurring pattern every sixty years and is in concert with Atlantic ocean circulations. But even knowing that is is most likely natural doesn't help fix anything,

Together with the base ignorance and lack of thought, the making political capital out of suffering is a 3rd unfortunate activist trait.

Dec 28, 2015 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

You could ask if the politcians believe themselfes in all that climate.
They have talked about it in more than twenty years, and said we would get more of all, but have they taken any measures against f. inst. more rain? Only action taken seems to be more tax.

Dec 28, 2015 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSvend Ferdinandsen


Not the current El Niño then?

Or floodgate open in York and more EA cock-ups elsewhere?

And what AGW? There hasn't been any to speak of for getting on 20 years.

You wouldn't be jumping to conclusions, would you?

Dec 28, 2015 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Galvanize said,

I have just had the pleasure of listening to George Monbiot on Sky News, attributing all of this to climate change.

Up and down since 1680

Dec 28, 2015 at 6:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

A pal just posted this comment on facebook:

Failed flood defences cast doubt on UK readiness for new weather era The Guardian-Monday 28 December 2015

York Streets Flooded-Water in basement of Guildhall. More damage at Selby. High tides cause havoc at Cleveleys. Although flood waters have receded in many parts of the north, there has been no sign of improvement at York and Selby, and high tides have caused considerable damage at Cleveleys. It is several years since the flooding was so bad at York as it was yesterday. The Guildhall guage showed over 13 ft of "fresh" on the Ouse at noon yesterday and there was no sign of any fall. Not only are the riverside walks above and below Scarborough bridge awash, but the water from the flooded river has now swept up the streets leading from the river to Clifford Street on the one side and to North Street and to Skeldergate on the other. St. George's Field is one lake and the basin of the Foss at Castle Mills bridge encircles the St. George's baths and forms one sheet of water............
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 11 January 1939

Great Floods in Yorkshire-York Streets flooded, and immense damage done in the district. York Herald - Friday 30 December 1892

Dec 28, 2015 at 9:10 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Global Warming weather ? Maybe, but remember there were 3 other huge factors this year.
1. El Nino
2. The massive massive haze this year from the annual SE Asia haze. (mostly fire clearing for palm oil)
3. The massive smogs they have been having in Beijing.
4. ... I wonder if there other big events elsewhere in the world that are too remote for our media to talk about ?

- Here in Borneo I mentioned to my friend the UK's warm December and people shouting "see Global Warming" even though it's probably more to do with Natural Variability and El Nino year, they immediately said "No, here this years 4 months of years haze has disrupted the weather" , and I guess people in Beijing are talking bout the smog affecting their weather. And I guess their local effects would be reflected somewhere down the line in our areas.

Dec 29, 2015 at 2:51 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

First, a declaration of interest.

I moved to York, famed for flooding problems, in early 1986.
In 2006, I purchased a house built directly on the banks of the River Foss (albeit a reasonable distance upstream from the City Centre.) As a Chartered Civil Engineer with wide professional experience in various issues (including flooding), I was very well aware that, at least on the basis of extreme weather and flood prediction practise, eventually flood water would arrive at my door. I considered (and consider still) that although the risk was real, it was acceptably low.

The house was built in 2002 and has been elevated well above the level of this week's flooding and also the more severe floods (for where I live) in 2000 and 2007.

But I was still a City of York Councillor in 2000 and thus involved in the City flood problems pretty closely. The issues in York aren't too hard to understand. The main river, the Ouse is fairly large and normally slow running through the flat terrain. The Ouse discharges (notably through Selby, downstream) into the river Humber and then into the sea. York, Selby and a vast surrounding area are all situated within what my Geologist chums call ancient Lake Humber, all underlain with clay, silt and sand sedimentary deposits, seldom rising much above 8.0 - 10.0m AOD.

The upland catchment area comprises of an even vaster area of North Yorkshire moors, dales and hills. Numerous significant rivers are tributaries of the Ouse and make periodic flooding events at times quite serious. These events can be considered to fall within three categories, firstly the direct flooding of the Ouse itself, secondly flooding from the Foss, a medium size tributary river which joins the Ouse quite close to Clifford's Tower in the City Centre. This has historically occurred when the water trying to exit the Foss is prevented from doing so by water levels in the Ouse, which at times flows up the Foss. Thirdly there are the generally predictable (but hard to predict in detail) local flooding issues due to blocked drains, unmaintained dikes, discarded bicycles and shopping trolleys in main drainage ditches and so on.

As all the old guys who, from time immemorial, had low paid jobs keeping ditches and paths and hedges in order, had been sacked as unnecessary by genius politicians and sharp suited City Slickers in the 1980s and 1990s, these 'local' floods, affecting areas that (absolutely genuinely) had never before been flooded before 2000, this was a particular problem in 2000, which beyond any doubt was and still remains the most serious "modern" flood.

Following the serious 1982 floods, £8 Million had been invested in a Flood Barrier where the Foss discharges into the Ouse. This comprises simply of two elements, a barrier gate which can block flow in the river channel (obviously in either direction) and a series of high power pumps (8? 10?, can't remember!) which take water in the flood basin and discharge it into the Ouse. The water then may possibly aggravate problems in Selby but prevents flooding in a large area of York old domestic housing in the lower reaches of the Foss. Other tactics and flood relief areas are supposed to protect Selby town (and indeed the strategically vital Selby Mines. Ho Ho.)

The pumps and the barrier in the Foss Flood Barrier are driven by electricity. In 2000, it became a massive battle to keep the electrical equipment working, an acquaintance of mine was working 18 hour shifts trying to keep it going. The whole system had been neglected (by traditional custom) since 1982. Some pumps worked, some didn't and electrical failure was always likely. Ultimately, the danger was that, no matter how well the pumps worked, ever rising levels in the Ouse would rise to the point where the Ouse water would flood overland into the Foss (the area between Clifford's tower and the Courts being most obvious) and make the barrier irrelevant. In 2000, the Ouse waters rose to within 150mm of this level.

This year, someone within the EA apparently just decided that as water was "entering the building", the electrical equipment was "at risk" and therefore the barrier should be lifted. Thus deliberately flooding a large residential area.

The announcements of the EA are contradictory and appear tendentious. Other statements talk about 'hoping to get at least one pump running" to remove some of the water they had permitted to devastate people's property.

So, were the pumps working and, if not, why not?
Were the electrics maintained and sited above flood levels? (Think:- Fukushima!) If not, why not?
Who made the decision to open the barrier and make the £8M (1982 prices) installation an irrelevance? Who was consulted?
How many of those responsible will be sacked?

We all know the answer to the last one.

Sorry this was posted late in the day, not least because no-one will read it. But at least 22,000 fibre optic customers lost their internet. Including the shops at the major Monks Cross shopping centre, who mostly were only able to accept cash payments (and, of course ATM machines weren't working, neither was at least one of the petrol stations (ASDA). No mention on the news that I have seen. My internet was down as well. A tiny taster of what will happen when the big blackout comes along. At least we can be happy that these things will never be allowed to affect the lives of the denizens of Islington or Westminster.

Dec 29, 2015 at 9:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

It's all about providing adequate drainage. Perhaps boring for our political and government leaders, but the water has to have somewhere to go. Works best for people if the water stays in rivers, streams, draining pipes, etc. If the rivers, streams, and draining pipes are clogged or too small, the water will spill. Sort of like a bathtub without the over-flow hole open.

Dec 29, 2015 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterrms

And we see once again the real reason the sorry leaders running government embrace “global warming”: it dissolves the accountability they and their green supporters have for ruining the infrastructure built up at so much cost and hard work over decades of rational planning.
Instead now we have the nihilist misanthropes strutting around at their “climate conferences” pretending to work and plan and echoing each other’s empty parasitic ideas while in the real world the breakdown of sensible flood defense, erosion control, fire prevention, storm surge defense, etc. wastes away from lack of maintenance or upgrade.
But the money our “leaders” get from us tax payers to dole out to their trough mates only grows and grows.
Reposted from WUWT

Dec 29, 2015 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Yep play
The Climate Change : Get out of Trouble Free Card

as opposed to
The Community Chest : Get out of Jail Free Card

Dec 29, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


"these things will never be allowed to affect the lives of the denizens of Islington or Westminster"

Unless, Heaven forfend, something* stops the Thames Barrier from working.. :-)

*e.g. water.

Dec 29, 2015 at 4:06 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Martin Brumby

Thanks for the insight

Dec 29, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Martin Brumby

"At least we can be happy that these things will never be allowed to affect the lives of the denizens of Islington or Westminster."

Thanks for the interesting post.

The truth is that the government literally seems to not care what happens in't north b/c you could turn the lot into a national park and the economy probably wouldn't suffer that much. Building HS2 is simply going to create a more substantial London commuter zone.

Dec 29, 2015 at 5:18 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

The indefatigablefrog strikes again at WUWT with this gem from the Western Daily Press back in August (not the most reliable of dead tree recyclers) - which dovetails with Martin Brumby's comment above.

Thousands of Herman Miller chairs, thousands of nice-shiny lease cars, thousands of fiddled attendance records, thousands of homes flooded - the Environment Agency.... paid for by you.

Dec 29, 2015 at 9:05 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, the photo you linked to of the sign promoting a flooded site to be developed was referred to on Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 programme this morning.

Dec 29, 2015 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

golf charlie@9:40

I bet the photographer wishes he'd got copyright sorted.....

There's hundreds of patches of land like that around the country. Almost any landowner that can - will develop almost any land and it is really caveat emptor on new developments. The planning process (including the EA) should deal with it - but it clearly doesn't.....

Many places with a history of flooding choose to live in denial and then run around squawking when it happens - this is compounded by incompetence and corruption. There are several plaques around my area that show historic flood levels that have not been reached for 50+++ years - much housing has been built below those marks......

Dec 29, 2015 at 10:13 PM | Registered Commentertomo

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