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spuddog0507

UK flooding

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I think it's a combination of a number of pressures and issues:
 
  • Climate change. More regular extreme weather events. Whilst we've not had consequential flooding here where we are in the South West, we have had over a metre of rain since the second week of September. That's more than a typical year here. With that level of ground saturation, it doesn't take much to overspill. We had 29mm of rain in a few hours yesterday morning and all the back roads were flooded.
  • Population pressure. Increased population, without the planning law change to accommodate them. It's still incredibly hard to build your own house, and as such new building is left entirely in the hands of large developers who frequently build on unsuitable sites, such as flood plains.
  • Lack of investment. 10 years of austerity, with sustained cut backs of public services and reduction of investment in flood defences.
  • Upland land management methods. Continued use of uplands for grouse shooting (with associated burning) and lack of aforestation accelerates the passage of rainfall into rivers, exacerbating flooding issues downstream. We need to plant the hills, ideally with spruce. We import 80% of our timber at present, and to establish upland forests would kill many birds with one stone. Bugger native broadleaves. They are useless squirrel food until we eliminate the greys. The issue is that the guidance is at present that only NBs can be planted in most upland areas in England (Dartmoor, Exmoor, Bodmin, to use the local examples). 
  • Public attitude. Some places flood. They aren't defendable. Either adapt your house to occasional flooding or move.

I’m sure there are much bigger factors that grouse moor management J.... The government continue to allow building within flood plains ffs, and as already said huge developments with associated run-off.
But hey, let’s stop grouse shooting, re-introduce beavers and not dredge watercourses.....that will fix the issue!
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1 hour ago, Big J said:

I think it's a combination of a number of pressures and issues:

 

  • Climate change. More regular extreme weather events. Whilst we've not had consequential flooding here where we are in the South West, we have had over a metre of rain since the second week of September. That's more than a typical year here. With that level of ground saturation, it doesn't take much to overspill. We had 29mm of rain in a few hours yesterday morning and all the back roads were flooded.
  • Population pressure. Increased population, without the planning law change to accommodate them. It's still incredibly hard to build your own house, and as such new building is left entirely in the hands of large developers who frequently build on unsuitable sites, such as flood plains.
  • Lack of investment. 10 years of austerity, with sustained cut backs of public services and reduction of investment in flood defences.
  • Upland land management methods. Continued use of uplands for grouse shooting (with associated burning) and lack of aforestation accelerates the passage of rainfall into rivers, exacerbating flooding issues downstream. We need to plant the hills, ideally with spruce. We import 80% of our timber at present, and to establish upland forests would kill many birds with one stone. Bugger native broadleaves. They are useless squirrel food until we eliminate the greys. The issue is that the guidance is at present that only NBs can be planted in most upland areas in England (Dartmoor, Exmoor, Bodmin, to use the local examples). 
  • Public attitude. Some places flood. They aren't defendable. Either adapt your house to occasional flooding or move.

Failure to maintain waterways isn't down to austerity (whatever that is). It down to EU Environment directives zealously enforced by the National Rivers Authority, which has effectively banned all dredging in the mistaken belief that turning rivers into turgid silt channels is somehow good for wildlife.

 

On the BBC news this morning the rubbish was repeated that "dredging isn't appropriate. It moves the problem somewhere else". No it doesn't. Not when it is done thoroughly and waterways prone to silting are maintained along their entire course, as they were for centuries, not tinkered with here and there at the whim of a ignorant quango concerned only with box-ticking and justifying it's own departmental budget. 

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But since most rivers are most constrained by towns and cities at their costal outfalls, and such development has walled and constricted the channels, which essentially cannot be changed to improve the flow, any improvements(like dredging to improve flows) upstream MUST cause insoluable problems downstream.

So the flooding pain must be shared along the length of the river, not merely moved ever downstream, where there are ever-more houses.

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Dredging channel  straightening & upland  drainage channels all  increase the peak flow lvl  so can all lead to more flooding ( as well as preventing it locally). Any river catchment should to be managed as a whole  system from top to bottom.

 

WWW.BBC.CO.UK

For Higher Geography learn how to interpret a hydrograph and explore the effects soil/rock type, slope, vegetation and...

 

 

Taken to extreme the tradtional flood prevention measures in urban enviro and you end up with rivers as channels like LA storm drains, Altering the upland part  of catchment requires probably requires less costly solutions ans less enviro damaging ones  to slow water down rather than speed it up.

 

Of course both can be combined on same river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mulling over this this morning and there wont be a one cap fits all solution.

 

In our little part of Dartmoor the rivers are very fast from source to sea. Rivers peak within just a few hours of heavy rainfall so only very heavy rain over short periods causes flooding. Weeks and weeks of wet but not extreme rainfall causes few issues. On the other hand flatter parts of the country with long rivers are affected very differently and struggle when we get prolonged periods of rain so solutions will undoubtedly be different for every situation. I hear many blame climate change but for us I see no evidence of extreme events in recent time in fact quite the opposite. I have lived here since 1974 and worst floods were in the 70s and early 80s. The land management in our local rivers catchment has hardly changed in the that period so I take it we had heavier rains back then than now. 

 

Now building endless estates on what are clearly flood plains is only ever going to end one way. They are called flood plains for a reason.

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8 hours ago, Stere said:

Dredging channel  straightening & upland  drainage channels all  increase the peak flow lvl  so can all lead to more flooding ( as well as preventing it locally). Any river catchment should to be managed as a whole  system from top to bottom.

 

That was precisely the point I was trying to make. They used to be managed, now they are not. 

 

 

 

Edited by Gimlet
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Or neglect as we call it in the real world. 

 

I'm all for doing nothing and leaving nature to itself, but you can't do that with 70 million people crammed in 1000 deep to the square mile.

You either get rid of the people and leave nature unmolested or you have 70 million human beings and landscape management. I know which I'd prefer but it ain't going to happen til Armageddon pulls its finger out and gets on with the job.

Edited by Gimlet
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On 14/02/2020 at 09:10, Gimlet said:

Failure to maintain waterways isn't down to austerity (whatever that is). It down to EU Environment directives zealously enforced by the National Rivers Authority, which has effectively banned all dredging in the mistaken belief that turning rivers into turgid silt channels is somehow good for wildlife.

 

On the BBC news this morning the rubbish was repeated that "dredging isn't appropriate. It moves the problem somewhere else". No it doesn't. Not when it is done thoroughly and waterways prone to silting are maintained along their entire course, as they were for centuries, not tinkered with here and there at the whim of a ignorant quango concerned only with box-ticking and justifying it's own departmental budget. 

Edit: should have said Environment Agency not NRA, as it has since been absorbed into. Probably better when it was the NRA. Centralisation and bureacratisation has a lot to do with bad decision making.

Edited by Gimlet
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