Posts Tagged ‘floods’


December 30, 2015
 flood victims turn on David Cameron

flood victims turn on David Cameron

York flooded. Manchester flooded. Cumbria flooded. Scotland flooded. Wales flooded.

Two winter’s ago, when large swathes of the country were flooded, David Cameron said lessons would be learnt.

Zealot George Osborne savagely cut public spending, including that to the Environment Agency.

The only surprise is the hypocrite dared showed his smug face in the areas flooded.

COP21 in Paris was a failure.

What were 1 in 100 extreme events are now every decade and now every couple of years.

Bad flooding two winter’s ago, now this winter.

Similar patters are seen in the US.

We are seeing this now with 1C global temperature rise.

Warm air holds more moisture. High temperatures, more energy in the system, more frequent and violent storms.

We have known this for at least a decade, and yet no mitigation measures in place.

Hard flood defences do not work, soft flood defences do.

We have to retain water water upstream, re-afforest the hills, re-wild the hills, re-introduce beavers, wolves and lynx.

Our hills have been denuded by sheep.

We have seen flash floods caused by unprecedented heavy downpours, now the norm, causing a sudden surge of water, one day a town in Cumbria dry, next day under several feet of water, next day dry.

We have to slow that water, spread over time.

When water sheets off a hill, hits a line of trees it vanishes, it sinks into the ground through tiny channels caused by tree roots. The soil absorbs water. The trees slow the rate at which the water hits the ground granting it time to be absorbed.

Pickering used to flood. It is in Yorkshire. Pickering did not flood. It did not flood because debris instead of being cleared from streams, is introduced into streams, trees cut down across streams. Work that beavers will happily do for free. There is also a small damn upstream of Pickering.

We have to have emergency legislation to revoke any planning consent for building on flood plains.

Flood plains are meant to flood.

The irony is, with cuts to Environment Agency funding, responsibility for local flood prevention has passed to local councils, bodies that know nothing about flooding, that are only too happy to pocket from developers to enable building on flood plains.

Cove Brook rises to the south of Farnborough Airport. Tens of thousands of trees were cut down in the catchment area. Drainage on the airport improved. As light follows day, properties downstream were flooded.

Properties downstream of Gatwick Airport experience similar problems.

Parts of Yorkshire flooded, are areas licensed for fracking. That is how much David Cameron cares about flood victims.

We know if we are to keep global warming below 2C, we have to leave at least 80% of known carbon deposits in the ground. For smug Dave lining the pockets of his slimy friends is more important than flood victims.

Widespread flooding, and where was the Chairman of the Environment Agency? Er, sunning himself in Barbados. £100,000 per annum for a couple of days a week. Yet another example of a public official taking the piss out of the public and laughing all the way to the bank.

And there are still morons who deny the existence of climate change. Morons who lack any understanding of science. Morons like failed Chancellor and has-been politician Nigel Lawson. Morons and thsoe in thre pocket of Big Oil, Big Coal.

Fourteen severe flood warnings on The Thames

February 10, 2014
Swans wander down a flooded street in Worcester

Swans wander down a flooded street in Worcester

areas at risk of flooding on The Thames

areas at risk of flooding on The Thames

David Cameron with troops on Chesil Beach

David Cameron with troops on Chesil Beach

rail lines flooded

rail lines flooded

Although a lull in the storms, more expected over the coming week, the water levels in The Thames have been rising by the hour, and are expected to continue rising throughout the week.

Today, in Berkshire and Surrey, fourteen severe flood warnings on The Thames. There are also two severe flood warnings in the Somerset Levels.

A severe flood warning is when there is risk to life.

Politicians are playing the blame game, though they have backed off today.

We are still hearing calls for dredging of rivers.

Rivers are dredged and canalised for navigation, not flood management. A river that is allowed to meander, form ox bow lakes, overflow into the flood plain, carries more water, than one that has been dredged.

If were are to point fingers of blame, then it has to be at the politicians.

  • they have failed on climate change
  • they have cut money for flood management
  • they have not spent money wisely

The current floods are due to the exceptional rainfall that has fallen since earlier January.

We have to rewild, re-afforest upstream, re-introduce wolves, lynx and beavers, possibly wild boar, retain water upstream.

Beavers create small pools upstream, slw the flow rate, provide cleaner water, enhance wildlife habitats, increase the number of fish.

Records are available for the Wye Valley since 1936. For seventy years, little change in rainfall, a tripling of the incidence of flooding. Over that period, grubbing up of trees, over-grazing of sheep (both paid for and enforced by EU). Since the late 1990s, there has been a policy of Let Sleeping Logs Lie, of not clearing the streams of fallen woodland debris.

Pickering used to flood, the streams were dredged. Now, trees are toppled over into the streams.

The Pontbren Project, a group of farmers in Wales, took it upon themselves, to re-afforest their land. Instead of grubbing out trees, they are planting shelter belts to be used by the sheep. Instead of expensive straw bedding for the sheep, wood chippings. The bedding then used for compost to grow more trees, a closed cycle. Instead of draining boggy patches, creating ponds.

When the water sheets off the land, it gets as far as the trees, then vanishes, sucked down into the ground by the trees. Land covered in trees will absorb 67 times the water, as land covered in grass.

If only 5% of the land at Pontbren were re-afforested, flooding peaks downstream would be reduced by about 30%. Full reforestation would reduce the peaks by about 50%.

For the residents of Shrewsbury, Gloucester and the other towns experiencing flooding by the Severn, were the catchment areas re-afforested, they would probably not be flooded today.

We know from the tropics, cut down trees, those living downstream get flooded. Why have we not learnt those lessons?

The River Wey, starting to flood Guildford last Friday, running very high through Farnham last Saturday, eventually finds it way into The Thames.

Flood management is not the river, flood management is the area that drains into the river.

Republished on Medium with additional notes.

Wettest in southern England since 1766

February 9, 2014
No one could have predicted these events

No one could have predicted these events

Government Minister Eric Pickles has apologised unreservedly to the people of the Somerset Levels.

We made a mistake, there’s no doubt about that.

We perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency’s advice.

I think we recognise now that we should have dredged and I think it’s important now that we get on with the process of getting people back into their houses, and really do some serious pumping.

I apologise unreservedly and I’m really sorry that we took the advice, we thought we were dealing with experts.

What is he apologising for?

  • That it has rained?
  • That the government has failed to heed warnings on climate change?
  • That we have an imbecile as Environment Secretary who has no understanding of the environment?
  • That we have a Prime Minister who is gung-ho on fracking?

Eric Pickles has said we were wrong to heed experts at Environment Agency? So who do we heed, politicians in the pocket of Big Businesses?

Eric Pickles has promised serious pumping. We are now going to have the equivalent of bailing out the Titanic with two tea strainers not one.

Eric Pickles has said we are now going to dredge the rivers flowing through the Somerset Levels. Has he looked at any computer modelling, and seen it would not have made a jot of difference?

The Somerset Levels flooded due to the sheer volume of water that has fallen from the sky in the last two months.

The Recent Storms and Floods in the UK (Met Office: 9 Feb 2014):

The persistence of the recent storminess is unusual, and although clustering of storms is quite common, the continued run of deep depressions, through December, January and on into February, is not. It is this continued run of storms that has created the exceptional flooding conditions experienced in the Somerset Levels.

If we wish to mitigate the floods in areas like the Somerset Levels, then we have to address the problem upstream. We also have to accept, with more rainfall, areas such as the Somerset Levels will flood, and farmers must adjust their farming practices accordingly, to work with Nature, not against.

Warm air holds more water. Warm air leads to more frequent and violent storms

We are seeing an increase in the hourly and daily rate of rainfall. That rainfall has to go somewhere. When the land is saturated, it flows straight off the land and into the rivers.

So much rain has fallen since the beginning of December, we are seeing groundwater rising and in places it is now coming up through the ground.

One hundred and thirty severe flood warnings, indicating a threat to life, have been issued since December. In contrast, there were only nine in the whole of 2012.

The Met Office has released a report today saying there are strong links with what we are experiencing this winter and climate change.

Is Eric Pickles going to put into effect:

  • rewilding, re-afforestation, reintroduction of wolves, beavers and lynx, retention of water upstream, slowing flow rates
  • prohibition of all building on flood plains
  • making villages, towns and cities more porous

In Curitiba, there is large areas of parkland and green space, during periods of heavy rain, the ducks float a little higher.

Simple ideas like green roofs, a ban on paving over gardens.

Beavers block streams, slow the rate of flow.

Wolves keep down the deer populations, vegetation can grow. The land can absorb more water, not as it does in areas grazed by sheep and deer, flow straight off the land.

Looking back over the last week, wave after wave of storms and heavy rain most nights. Today (Sunday) a slight lull, though still very strong winds blowing, during the week, starting Monday night, more storms are expected, and even if the rainfall is not heavy, the ground is saturated, the water will flow off the land, to exacerbate those areas already flooded, or create new floods.

Dawlish  railtrack workers working in six-hour shifts - between high tides - to repair the track

Dawlish railtrack workers working six-hour shifts, between high tides, to repair the track

Mid-week, the iconic railway line at Dawlish washed away.

Network Rail said it was "too early to say" when the track at Bridgwater would reopen

Network Rail said it was “too early to say” when the track at Bridgwater would reopen

Dawlish may have been the most dramatic, other parts of the country, the lines are flooded. At Bridgewater, the line is flooded. Engineers cannot say when the line will be back in use, as until the floods recede, they cannot see if the ballast has been washed away.

Somerset Levels flooded

Somerset Levels flooded

map of flooded Somerset Levels

map of flooded Somerset Levels

The water levels in the Somerset Levels carry on rising.

The Thames in London, has burst its banks in several sections.

River Wey

Guildford River Wey

In Guildford, the River Wey had overflowed, temporary flood barriers in place and the town centre once again under threat of flooding.

Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham Bishop's Meadow flooded

Farnham Bishop’s Meadow flooded

The River Wey in Farnham, running very high through Gostrey Meadow, Bishop’s Meadow flooded.

Published on Medium with additional notes.

Afternoon in Farnham

February 8, 2014
Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham River Wey Gostrey Meadow

Farnham Bishop's Meadow flooded

Farnham Bishop’s Meadow flooded

Friday night, heavy torrential rain, strong winds, as it has been most nights this last week. This morning sunny, then heavy rain mid-morning, sunny, then heavy rain lunchtime, then sun came out. But very strong wind blowing, as I learnt when I ventured outside, with storm clouds threatening more rain.

Friday, the River Wey had overflowed its banks at Guildford, temporary flood barriers in place, with a strong risk of the town centre flooding, as it did over Christmas.

What then of the River Wey in Farnham? Last Saturday, very high after torrential rain Friday night.

No surprise, the River Wey was very high flowing through Gostrey Meadow, higher than last week.

Bishop’s Meadow was flooded.

The Oxfam Bookshop had Revolver, an album from The Beatles, in very poor condition, around £100. A single well over £100. You got to be joking! My albums must be worth a fortune, mint condition, and only played on very expensive record decks. And they had a signed book by Jeffrey Archer, £100. You got to be joking!

dolls house

dolls house

In the Phyllis Tuckwell charity shop, a wonderful dolls house. They alwasy have good stock, and the shop is always very busy.

Excellent late lunch in The Barn. I was the only one there. Apparently quiet all afternoon. By early evening, it became quite busy.

An interesting conversation with a singer-songwriter called Heather, who kindly gave me her previous album, Kutara, her latest, Elakoyah, of which she had only one copy, she will also give to me at a later date. She is playing in Café Mila, one evening, early March.

I tried Kobo Touch on the wifi. My idea, had been to download Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which I thought, last night, I had added to the Kobo Library. But not there, or I am doing, or have done, something wrong? I had to find it in the Kobo Store. Download was so fast, I thought nothing had happened. But, yes, the book had downloaded. I found the Kobo Touch not very responsive, but that may be me being inept with my fingers.

I have suggested, book storyteller Steph Bradley for June.

I take my leave of The Barn. Luckily bus on time, and my next bus, only a few minutes wait.

Saturday night, yet another storm hits.

Afternoon in Guildford

February 7, 2014
Guildford Wharf and boatman, River Wey within inches of overflowing, upstream and downstream had overflowed

Guildford Wharf and boatman, River Wey within inches of overflowing, upstream and downstream had overflowed

River Wey, Milmead road flooded

River Wey, Milmead road flooded

River Wey

River Wey

temporary flood barriers in place outside Debenhams to stop town centre flooding

temporary flood barriers in place outside Debenhams to stop town centre flooding

Days of heavy rain, last night, another storm hit, torrential rain. I am beginning to understand how Noah felt.

Today, a brief interlude between storms.

River Blackwater at North Camp Station, running high and very fast. I learn later, River Blackwater has burst its banks downstream.

North Camp to Ash, fields either flooded or waterlogged.

Guard on the train fails to walk through the train. As the train pulls into Guildford, I go off in search of the guard. He is unbelievably rude, refuses to sell me a ticket, tells me to buy at the station. Only problem is, risk harassment at barriers for not having a ticket, and have to then queue to buy a ticket.

River Wey very high, already overflowing banks. Outside Debenhams, temporary flood barriers in place.

WHSmith to exchange Kobo Touch. Now on third e-reader. But at least confirms what I had suspected, it had been taken out of the box, and tampered with, before I bought.

I had hoped to only be a few minutes at WHSmith. There over an hour.

Very late for lunch at Guildford Institute.

An exhibition of wildlife photographs, but almost impossible to see due to reflection off glass. When are people going to learn? Do not use glass! The photographs emphasises the need for rewilding of the countryside, reintroduction of lynx, beavers and wolves.

Rewilding, re-afforestation would go some way to mitigating the floods.

What we are seeing is window dressing. Time for honesty, the Somerset Levels have to be allowed to flood, the farmers have to change their farming practices, learn to work with nature, not against.

We also have to make our towns more porous. Every time a garden is paved, that increases the water run off.

The wildlife photographer, will be giving a talk next week, Wednesday afternoon.

Guildford Library. I plug in the Kobo Touch. It charges for 45 minutes, but not fully charged. I am unable to complete set up, as requires me to download and install Kobo Desktop, not possible in public library.

From Kobo Store, Alice in Wonderland.

An odd, kack-handed two stage download. Transfer to a Kobo Library, then download. I try to download, but fails.

I learn later, there is an advantage to this kack-handed method.

Back to WHSmith. Another hour, over an hour.

Using Kobo Desktop. Set up installs software on Kobo Reader, then downloads books from Kobo Library.

E-books on Kobo Store rip off prices:

  • Manuscript Found in Accra – Paulo Coelho —> £6-99
  • My Autobiography – Alex Ferguson —> £9-49
  • My Life – David Jason —> £11-99

Manuscript Found in Accra has been on offer in WHSmith at half price, and currently in Waterstone’s and WHSmith at Buy One, Get One Free, ie the paperback is less than an e-book!

The e-book on Amazon and iTunes at 99p.

What we must never forget, zero costs for e-books. Authors need to get a grip, retain the digital rights, release on leanpub, and do themselves and their readers a BIG favour.

Cappuccino and cookie in Harris + Hoole. Kobo Touch connects ok to wifi. I now find an advantage of kack-handed two stage download. Using to Kobo Touch to find books on Kobo Store, total waste of time. On the other hand, had I chosen a book, transferred to Kobo Libary, as I did earlier with Alice in Wonderland, I could then have simply downloaded from the Kobo Library using Harris + Hoole wifi to Kobo Touch.

I had intended to catch train at four o’clock, as next storm due to hit later in the day.

I catch 1900 train. It has already been raining.

At Aldershot, I see a bus leaving. Another bus in 20 minutes. Bus fails to show. Wait until 2000, a 40 minute wait for a bus.

Luckily I do make it before next storm hits. Late night, storm hits, more heavy rain.

Yet more storms

February 5, 2014
Damage to the railway line at Dawlish A section of rail track dangles over the sea after the wall collapsed at Dawlish

Damage to the railway line at Dawlish
A section of rail track dangles over the sea after the wall collapsed at Dawlish

waves continue to pound the Dawlish seafront

waves continue to pound the Dawlish seafront

Dawlish map of railway line

Dawlish map of railway line

high winds and stormy seas have led to further damage to the Grade I listed West Pier in Brighton

high winds and stormy seas have led to further damage to the Grade I listed West Pier in Brighton

It started at the beginning of December, 5 December 2013, exactly two months ago, with a tidal surge in the North Sea, the East Coast was battered, cliffs collapsed, homes toppled into the sea, parts of the East Coast were flooded.

The storms have been relentless ever since, wave after wave, a lull of a few days, then another storm hits.

January saw in the South of England, the heaviest rainfall in over a century.

The Somerset Levels have been flooded for weeks, 28 square miles under water. Areas surrounding The Thames and The Severn flooded, the River Wey flooded Guildford, the sea front at Aberystwyth destroyed.

At the weekend, heavy rain Friday afternoon and evening, overnight, very heavy torrential rain. Saturday, the River Wey at Farnham had overflowed its banks, running very high and fast, Bishop’s Meadow flooded.

Tuesday evening, heavy rain, overnight, a bad storm, more heavy rain, again during the day today, a slight lull during the afternoon, the storm then returns for the evening. More storms and heavy rain forecast for the weekend.

Wales, the South West and South Coast has taken another hammering.

In Pembrokeshire, sand dunes have been re-sculptured into cliffs.

In Cornwall, much of the sea defences destroyed.

A railway line runs through Devon, through to Cornwall, all the way down to Penzance. In Devon, it runs along a sea wall, a gap in the cliffs, and a glimpse of Dawlish. Not any more, the sea wall at Dawlish has been destroyed, the railway lines left hanging in mid air.

The end of the derelict West Pier in Brighton has been spilt in two.

David Cameron has said he will do what it takes. Er, did he not make that very statement at the beginning of the year?

The hypocrisy of David Cameron is staggering. Wringing of hands at the floods and yet gung-ho on fracking. Is he incapable of holding two ideas in his head simultaneously?

If David Cameron is serous, then he should show he is serious by firing Owen Paterson.

He must also stop talking nonsense about dredging the rivers that run through the Somerset Levels. Had they been dredged, it would not have made a jot of difference.

Similarly, the high capacity pumps installed in the Somerset Levels are window dressing, the equivalent of trying to bail out the Titanic with a tea strainer.

A couple of days ago, the chairman of the Environment Agency said we have a choice, towns or countryside, we have not the money to protect both. He was only partly correct, but it is not a matter of money. The water has to go somewhere.

Rivers and streams are meant to meander, flood plains to flood. Dredging, canalising rivers and streams, simply makes matters worse for those downstream.

The Somerset Levels have to be allowed to flood. Those who say something should be done, are like King Canute commanding the tide not to come in.

Historia Anglorum (ed D E Greenway):

Let all the world know that the power of kings is empty and worthless and there is no King worthy of the name save Him by whose will heaven and earth and sea obey eternal laws.

Though what Canute was actually demonstrating was arrogance and humility. Only those who are arrogant think they are all powerful, others recognise in their humility that they do not have the power to command Nature.

A farmer last week said when it rains in the hills, a few hours later, the water levels rise in the Somerset Levels. His comments, point to if not a solution, at least towards mitigation, address the water coming off the hills, retain water upstream.

David Cameron called for emergency action. Yes, rebuild sea defences, but also address the long term.

We have to deal with the water catchment, we have to re-afforest the hills, we have to rewild, release wolves and beavers and lynx.

Records are available for the River Wye since 1936. Over a period of seventy years, rainfall was fairly constant, the incidence of flooding has tripled. Up until the late 1990s, trees that had fallen into the streams were cleared. There is now a policy of Let Sleeping Logs Lie. Sheep grazing the hills, compact the soil, what little soil there is, denude the vegetation. The net result is the heavy rain dumped on the hills, rushes straight downstream.

The Severn drains the same hills. We have seen the vast square miles flooded by the Severn.

The area above Pickering was drained. Pickering flooded. Trees are now being deliberately felled into the streams.

Bishop’s Meadow, 23 acres of unspoilt meadow alongside the River Wey in Farnham would have been built upon had local people not bought it. On Saturday, it was one huge lake.

We have to allow coastal marshes and estuaries and mudflats to flood.

We have to stop corrupt local councils granting planning consent to greedy developers to build on flood plains.

We are seeing what we were told were once in a lifetime, extreme weather events, occurring every year.

Across the world we are seeing extreme weather events, Global Weirding, as Climate Chaos and Global Warming kicks in.

A succession of low pressure systems are being dragged across the Atlantic by the Jet Stream. These are expected to continue throughout February. And even if the rainfall is not so heavy, there will still be widespread flooding, as any rain that falls, flows straight off the land due to the ground being saturated from two months of heavy rain.

flood alerts

flood alerts

Republished on Medium, with additional notes and images.

Owen Paterson must go

January 6, 2014

Woodland scene: Burnham Beeches in Buckingshire

Woodland scene: Burnham Beeches in Buckingshire

Owen Paterson must go, he has repeatedly demonstrated that he is unfit to be Environment Secretary .

  • denies climate change exists
  • has fired over 1,500 people at the Environment Agency, the lead agency responsible for flood protection
  • slashed DEFRA climate adaptation team from 38 to 6 staff
  • has attacked people for opposing GM crops
  • authorised a mass killing of badgers
  • has appointed a property developer to English Nature (or whatever name it now has)

The latest act of crass stupidity from this arrogant imbecile, as reported on the front page of The Times on Saturday, is to relax the constraints on destruction of Ancient Woodlands. He proposes destroying Ancient Woodlands so developers can make a fast buck, replacing each tree cut down, with one hundred trees.

Ancient Woodlands, pre-dating 1600, are all that remains of the post-glacial forest cover, one of our most valuable habitats. Woodlands, are more than a collection of trees, they are valuable habitats.

Even in flagship Tory rags Mail and The Telegraph, there are calls in the comments for Paterson to go.

Were spineless public schoolboy joke Ed Miliband up to the job, he would be tabling a motion calling for Paterson to resign, but he seems capable of little more than childish yah-boo politics and pathetic sound bites.

Please sign the petition calling for Paterson to be fired. Please tweet and share and encourage others to sign.

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