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Severe flooding in Somerset

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Nothing like ignoring reality of neglected manmade channels means flooding sooner and worse.No one says the flooding would not have happened, but trying to imply it would be just as bad if they hadn't practically stopped the maintenance which has been done for centuries is plain stupid. 

 

Yes, very true but still not really measurable I imagine in real terms, G-W is spot on and if it is indeed climate change (whatever side one sits on the fence?) the policies are to mitigate against it. Inaction costs lives and livelihoods in each and every event, no matter meaningless they might seem at the time. Even bigger deluges might come in future, now that is a scary thought is it not? and what if it was snow and then the associated snow melt to come, hmmm.

Edited by gottolovethisweather

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It is so easy to criticise but far more difficult to do that with a suggestion of a way forward.

What has happened has happened. More rainfall in 3 months than in over 200 or more years suggests that flooding would have occurred but very probably nothing like as badly in either the Somerset levels or along the rivers (Thames, Severn etc) if a more prudent system of flood prevention had been in operation regardless of which colour of government had been in charge over the last 20-30 years or so. How much are we all prepared to pay as tax payers for this? A great deal along the rivers in terms of flooding is due to successive governments allowing builders to build on flood plains. It is hardly rocket science to understand that term-flood plain! It was named so to suggest that living/building housing in those areas was not a sensible idea but greed and lack of thought/common sense over many decades has over ridden this. Millions of acres of tarmac and concrete do not help in these areas.

For the future then any building on flood plains must have the stiputlation that no living accomodation can be on the ground floor, garage/storage etc with living areas above seems one suggestion although this will increase the costs but perhaps lower insurance premiums stemming from these type of properties might help? Talking of insurance we have the huge problem of what is possible, even after those affected have got their lives, homes and businesses back together again, about how one gets a reasonable price for insurance for those properties that are prone to flood. We can hardly expect everyone in such properties to move?

Sensible and constructive ideas are needed from all political sides as to how the country moves forward. It will happen again, who knows how far ahead but basic physics regardless of your opinions on GW or AGW will show. More heat=more moisture=more rain, not routinely but now and then-not easy for the unfortunates who are involved be it 10 years or 100 years down the line.

sorry for the length of post but I do care about folk.

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It is so easy to criticise but far more difficult to do that with a suggestion of a way forward.

What has happened has happened. More rainfall in 3 months than in over 200 or more years suggests that flooding would have occurred but very probably nothing like as badly in either the Somerset levels or along the rivers (Thames, Severn etc) if a more prudent system of flood prevention had been in operation regardless of which colour of government had been in charge over the last 20-30 years or so. How much are we all prepared to pay as tax payers for this? A great deal along the rivers in terms of flooding is due to successive governments allowing builders to build on flood plains. It is hardly rocket science to understand that term-flood plain! It was named so to suggest that living/building housing in those areas was not a sensible idea but greed and lack of thought/common sense over many decades has over ridden this. Millions of acres of tarmac and concrete do not help in these areas.

For the future then any building on flood plains must have the stiputlation that no living accomodation can be on the ground floor, garage/storage etc with living areas above seems one suggestion although this will increase the costs but perhaps lower insurance premiums stemming from these type of properties might help? Talking of insurance we have the huge problem of what is possible, even after those affected have got their lives, homes and businesses back together again, about how one gets a reasonable price for insurance for those properties that are prone to flood. We can hardly expect everyone in such properties to move?

Sensible and constructive ideas are needed from all political sides as to how the country moves forward. It will happen again, who knows how far ahead but basic physics regardless of your opinions on GW or AGW will show. More heat=more moisture=more rain, not routinely but now and then-not easy for the unfortunates who are involved be it 10 years or 100 years down the line.

sorry for the length of post but I do care about folk.

 

Yes, I guess a lot of it will come down to costs etc. but in your earlier days (sorry John) there were also folk known widely as lengthsmen, their job was to clear ditches. Now, as a means to prepare for extreme seasonal flooding, wouldn't it be a good idea to get the unemployed or prisoners on day-release for example to undertake such tasks as a way of mitigation. The roadside ditches should be cleared regularly no matter where one lives and it also might lead to better road maintenance, in that there should be fewer incidences of injuries due to fewer pot holes. And again, then there are the issues of compacted farmland leading to additional rainfall run off and a general lack of appropriate ditching in such places as well. Another important factor you may have missed JH is of course the expanding human population, well so far at my ripe old age of 42 I have personally kept that side of things in check.

Edited by gottolovethisweather

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Well we all know what would have happened if we had entered another dry cycle people would be moaning about the waste of money being spent on defences. Sadly we all know that property will never be built properly on flood plains which will be better long term solution if we're going to build on them . Bar one or two example homes. Increasing population will mean we will have too build on them so the problem will remain. 

In the short term the government will need to support the effected areas better than it intends too at the moment.

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So far as the Somerset levels are concerned it's pretty un-arguable that policies shifted towards increasing wetland and for longer periods are the major problem.This is a political decision so whoever decided it deserves some blame - it's hardly a party-politics issue.Using a flood event as evidence of climate change is dis-ingenuous at best since clearly many factors are behind the flooding from changed land use to changed drainage patterns.Throwing up one's hands to say nothing could be done because there was 10mm more rain than in 1915 or whatever is rather unhelpful.The impacts could be reduced by improved drainage because that would have delayed the start of the flooding, reduced the maximum depth of the water, and helped it to recede more quickly.If that is not what you want because a flooding eventhelps promote your ideas about climate change so be it.It sounds like common sense is taking over to some extent and lessons have been learned (the hard way - if they'd listened to those who live there how much better it would have been).

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It is so easy to criticise but far more difficult to do that with a suggestion of a way forward.

What has happened has happened. More rainfall in 3 months than in over 200 or more years suggests that flooding would have occurred but very probably nothing like as badly in either the Somerset levels or along the rivers (Thames, Severn etc) if a more prudent system of flood prevention had been in operation regardless of which colour of government had been in charge over the last 20-30 years or so. How much are we all prepared to pay as tax payers for this? A great deal along the rivers in terms of flooding is due to successive governments allowing builders to build on flood plains. It is hardly rocket science to understand that term-flood plain! It was named so to suggest that living/building housing in those areas was not a sensible idea but greed and lack of thought/common sense over many decades has over ridden this. Millions of acres of tarmac and concrete do not help in these areas.

For the future then any building on flood plains must have the stiputlation that no living accomodation can be on the ground floor, garage/storage etc with living areas above seems one suggestion although this will increase the costs but perhaps lower insurance premiums stemming from these type of properties might help? Talking of insurance we have the huge problem of what is possible, even after those affected have got their lives, homes and businesses back together again, about how one gets a reasonable price for insurance for those properties that are prone to flood. We can hardly expect everyone in such properties to move?

Sensible and constructive ideas are needed from all political sides as to how the country moves forward. It will happen again, who knows how far ahead but basic physics regardless of your opinions on GW or AGW will show. More heat=more moisture=more rain, not routinely but now and then-not easy for the unfortunates who are involved be it 10 years or 100 years down the line.

sorry for the length of post but I do care about folk.

 

The Insurance question of this has already been considered and in 2013 there was agreement between Government and the ABI (Assoc of British Insurers) to introduce a fund which insurers contribute to (with our premiums) which will be used to pay out Flood losses for approx 350,000 homes which the EA say are at risk. Every home insurance policyholder will pay into the scheme ranging from a min £10.50 up to £210 depending upon the council tax band. The scheme is not available to homeowners who's house were built after 2009 which will deter more building on land susceptible to flooding.

 

The scheme is similar to Pool Re which came in as a result of Terrorism attacks years ago and is still in place today. 

 

Flood Re is due to start in 2015 but I expect there to be more amendments following the recent events.

 

Maybe we will go as far as Holland & Germany where the Flood risks sit with Governments.

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a very interesting reply CH, thanks for that, something I knew nothing about. The idea of having a cut off year regarding flood plain building is a good one. I do hope would be buyers are told this in any document prior to buying in such an area?

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So far as the Somerset levels are concerned it's pretty un-arguable that policies shifted towards increasing wetland and for longer periods are the major problem.This is a political decision so whoever decided it deserves some blame - it's hardly a party-politics issue.Using a flood event as evidence of climate change is dis-ingenuous at best since clearly many factors are behind the flooding from changed land use to changed drainage patterns.Throwing up one's hands to say nothing could be done because there was 10mm more rain than in 1915 or whatever is rather unhelpful.The impacts could be reduced by improved drainage because that would have delayed the start of the flooding, reduced the maximum depth of the water, and helped it to recede more quickly.If that is not what you want because a flooding eventhelps promote your ideas about climate change so be it.It sounds like common sense is taking over to some extent and lessons have been learned (the hard way - if they'd listened to those who live there how much better it would have been).

 

Could you expand on the highlighted sentence and your reason for saying it?

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Build giant lagoon to save Somerset Levels, says expert

 

Building a vast tidal lagoon in the Severn Estuary would be a better way to combat floods in the Somerset Levels than dredging and would generate a significant amount of renewable energy, a senior hydrologist has said.

 

Courtesy the Times. Full story

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4015181.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_02_24

post-12275-0-88465800-1393313990_thumb.j

Edited by knocker

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Build giant lagoon to save Somerset Levels, says expert

 

Building a vast tidal lagoon in the Severn Estuary would be a better way to combat floods in the Somerset Levels than dredging and would generate a significant amount of renewable energy, a senior hydrologist has said.

 

Courtesy the Times. Full story

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/article4015181.ece?CMP=OTH-gnws-standard-2014_02_24

Looks like a plan.....but no doubt there will be a butterfly, moth or witchetty grub that needs greater protection.Posted Image

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Looks like a plan.....but no doubt there will be a butterfly, moth or witchetty grub that needs greater protection.Posted Image

 

well, it would certainly need an enormous amount of investigation and would be subject to appropriate assessment (and quite rightly). It's all a balance - saline lagoons are extraordinarily valuable ecological resources in their own right so you could make a case along those lines aside from the human issues. Of course, some of the legal protection afforded to species also protects their habitats - which are the same laws that prevent places like the New Forest being concreted over or subjected to unacceptable levels of disturbance.

 

The number of large scale, infrastructure development projects actually prevented by the presence of a protected species alone is miniscule. The dreaded words "mitigation" and "compensation" soon to be followed by "offsetting" are far more prominent.  

Edited by New Forest Gump
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http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=84737devastating evidence has now come to light not just that the floods covering 65 square miles of the Somerset Levels could have been prevented; they were deliberately engineered by the Labour Government in 2009, knowingly regardless of the property and human rights of the thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods would be affected.

Political propaganda bull. People will believe anything. Not a labour supporter by the way, but anything that starts with it's any political parties thought during a conservative government is propaganda to make which ever party look bad. 

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Read this then - if you can't see beyond the need to blame whoever implemented it.http://www.floodplains.org/ 

I blame the weather, and the fact that the area that flooded is below sea level. I have read about the EU and Labour dredging stuff, I just do not believe that the area was flooded on purpose, that's the bit that I think is bull. 

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Looks like a plan.....but no doubt there will be a butterfly, moth or witchetty grub that needs greater protection.Posted Image

 

Boring, boring, boring. Yes, in hindsight, the environmental protection regulations were to be proven outdated and not fit for purpose, however in our changed times of climate extremes we are at one with nature and should not be against it. The farming fraternity need a healthy working natural environment which brings pollinators to their crops in order to provide food for us at our tables and likewise this connection continues throughout the natural world via trophic matching. Yes, the aforementioned scheme would bring about a certain amount of habitat destruction once again, which us naturalists also despise, but it would probably be a price we have to pay. Ignorance is bliss and we have been far too ignorant of how nature needs our respect for far too long and as I type, it continues to dump its rainfall on us.

Edited by gottolovethisweather

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Everyone affected - namely in areas where dredging may have helped to halt a lot of the problems - should consider suing the govt for negligence? Why? They're happy to pursue you in the name of 'justice' when it suits and yet seemingly remain completely unaccountable - at best shrugging blame onto others, at worst costing tax-payers much more cash to put right, not least the direct affect on livelihoods and personal finances.Remember - the state is there to serve you, and not the other way around.

 

Yes those in the flood prone area itself should potentially sue the powers that be, but which government was deemed irresponsible for the dreadful situation which largely continues unabated. The government which brought these environmental protection regulations in, was it Labour back then? Or perhaps, the current government due to their inaction re: the dredging. Its all too complex a situation (just as in nature conservation) for political point-scoring for me, because the weather (Mother Nature) clearly had the upper hand in events.

Edited by gottolovethisweather

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I will get shot down for this, but I do think in the face of things people and depts have risen to the challenge, problem is where to stick money and people power, the floods next year (I hope we do not get any) could be in another place, like gritters and buying in rock salt, how much do you get, at what cost and what good is it the rest of the year?

 

This area has not been too bad for flooding this year but last year was not good, the year before it was mayhem thanks to the snow and cold spell, but not this year, so how much redundancy of stock and equipment do you have for events that are not regular ones?

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The Telegraph's Christopher Booker joins Neil Foster of the Community Press Group to discuss the Somerset Floods.

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Somerset flood car 'sells for £101k' on eBay

 

A submerged car, which became the unofficial symbol of the Somerset floods, has apparently been sold for £101,100 on eBay. Hubert Zajaczkowski, 21, sold the Seat Toledo to raise money for a charity. The car was abandoned near Muchelney on Christmas Eve and it became a familiar sight in the media over the next two-and-a-half months Mr Zajaczkowski said he was unsure if the bid was genuine. Under eBay's rules winning bids can be considered binding.

 

In the sale description, Mr Zajaczkowski wrote: "Genuine Seat Toledo from the floods in Somerset. "Obviously NOT in working condition, but my aim is to sell the car and donate the money to a charity which is helping with the floods. "Any questions please message me. Collection only."

 

Mr Zajaczkowski, an apprentice at AgustaWestland in Yeovil, said: "Someone may be having a joke or a laugh but then it could be a genuine donation. "I haven't sold anything on eBay before so I will just wait till it all calms down and contact the people to see if it's genuine." According to eBay's terms and conditions "a bid or purchase on eBay is considered a contract and you're obliged to purchase the item" unless the seller is "willing to cancel the transaction".

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-26676013

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Dredging is expected to start next month now on two rivers in the Somerset Levels they hoped to start this month but conditions are still not right to take the heavy machinery in

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Dredging Begins On Flood-Hit Somerset Levels

 

Dredging is getting under way on the Somerset Levels after homes, businesses and farms were submerged by some of the most serious winter flooding the area has ever seen. From this morning the Environment Agency will start work on a 200-metre stretch of the River Parrett close to where it meets the River Tone at Burrowbridge. Eventually eight kilometres of waterway will be dug out with silt removed from the banks and river bed to allow the water in these tidal rivers to flow more freely.  It is currently estimated that parts of the rivers are only running at 60% capacity. Dredging forms part of the "Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan" commissioned by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson. Additional government investment was announced earlier this year to fund the work. In February, Prime Minister David Cameron promised dredging would begin in March.

 

The start of dredging follows months of extreme weather which saw the country's largest-ever pumping operation on the Somerset Levels and Moors, with millions of tonnes of water pumped off the Levels every day. Now the flood waters have subsided it has been deemed safe to begin clearing the rivers. Dr Paul Leinster, chief executive at the Environment Agency, said: "Today is an important milestone in the work to reduce the risk of flooding to people, property and land in Somerset and we welcome the additional money from government that has allowed us to undertake this further dredging."

 

Farmer James Winslade's home and farm in Moorland were flooded. He estimates that after insurance claims he has a £200,000 shortfall to pay for all the repairs. He is pleased the Environment Agency has stuck to its promise to clear the river but will be watching their progress closely. Mr Winslade told Sky News: "There is an element of distrust because Lord Smith (chairman of the Environment Agency) said to me a year and a bit ago that something would be done within six months and nothing was done. "And I have that element of reservation of how much they're going to do and how well they're going to do it." Gavin Sadler, from Flooding on the Levels Action Group, believes people power played a huge part in getting the Government to take action. He said: "Every time it rains we're just going to think is this going to happen again. That is why it's so important that this dredging is done before next winter.

 

"Dredging won't stop the flooding. We expect to flood but not to the extent and not to the duration of what's happened this year." Some of the removed silt will be used by the Environment Agency for flood bank repairs and construction to further improve the flood resilience of the area.  Meanwhile, Network Rail has confirmed that it will reopen the Great Western Main Line through Dawlish in Devon by the end of this week as planned. A large stretch of the railway line collapsed into the sea when the sea wall was breached during one of the winter storms in February.

 

http://news.sky.com/story/1234390/dredging-begins-on-flood-hit-somerset-levels

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