Somerset Levels

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  • Somerset Levels
  • Premier Icon dropoff
    Subscriber

    I thought these may show the sheer scale of the problem
    Flood pics

    knottie8
    Member

    that’s he worst I’ve ever seen it on the levels.Thanks for showing ..

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    WOW!

    That’s just something so much damage and emotional upset.

    Cheers for that certainly gives an idea what it’s like.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Interesting article by Chris Smith: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/09/flooding-chris-smith-speaks-out

    It’s important, though, to realise a fundamental constraint on us. It’s not only the overall allocation for flood defence work that limits what we can do. There is also a limit on the amount we can contribute to any individual scheme, determined by a benefit-to-cost rule imposed on us by the Treasury.

    Take, for example, the highly visible issue of the dredging of the rivers on the Somerset Levels.

    Last year, after the 2012 floods, we recognised the local view that taking silt out of the two main rivers would help to carry water away faster after a flood.

    The Environment Agency put £400,000 on the table to help with that work – the maximum amount the Treasury rules allowed us to do. The additional funds from other sources that would be needed didn’t come in.

    So when politicians start saying it’s Environment Agency advice or decisions that are to blame, they need to realise that it’s in fact government rules – laid down by successive governments, Labour and Tory – that are at the heart of the problem.

    Premier Icon oldfart
    Subscriber

    Devastating

    rob2
    Member

    The EA should have seen this coming you only have to look at the flood maps. Hopefully someone will see they should just do regulation not actual planning and delivery.

    I feel for those people. The Thames might be interesting if it keeps raining. Highest I’ve ever seen it near me

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    The EA should have seen this coming you only have to look at the flood maps. Hopefully someone will see they should just do regulation not actual planning and delivery.

    Seems they did ^

    cynic-al
    Member

    Someone said on the other thread only 40 homes flooded, can anyone confirm?

    EDIT pics suggest way more than 40!

    That’s dreadful, I mean it gets a bit soggy around Boroughbridge at times but not on on that scale.

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    That new build 1M pound home with the bank around it – would it not have been better to build it either or stilts or a raised mound in the first place. It isn’t like the danger is unknown on a flood plain.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    That chap built a new house on a flood plain! I am astounded at that decision.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Given the scale of the flood I’d say 40 is an underestimate by a pretty big margin.

    rob2
    Member

    Drac – Lord smiths comment makes it even worse as they (the ea) have successively not solved the issue. Where is the leadership? Remember they are part of defra who deal with farmer subsidies so why have they not tackled the land use issue? It’s the same when you look at other areas like weir maintenance, monitoring etc.

    And relax 🙂

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    The EA are civil servants, they advise the ministers who are supposed to make the decisions. The decisions have been incorrect since before the current mob were put in place.
    If you have a climate change denying minister in charge at environment and a treasury that won’t sanction the money then conditions are ripe for a disaster. The ministers won’t take the long-term hard decisions (re-foresting the uplands) because it’s not a “get us re-elected” headline grabber. Both Pickles for his lamentable performance today (apportioning blame away from the decision/policy makers) and Patterson (for failing to grasp his brief effectively) should resign as they are responsible for acting on the advice that EA provided. Environment could well be the coalitions equivalent of the banking crisis.

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    if you choose to live in a wetland formed on reclaimed land i ‘d have thought flooding was to be expected fairly regularly. in fact i read that great swathes of the wetland are specifically designed to be fludded during the winter..

    the last person who tried to hold back the rising water failed why do these somerset folk expect to do any better.

    bland
    Member

    I’m with you total shell, yeah it’s upsetting, however it is flood plain and damn low lying. Its not actually that great an area looking at it on maps and I don’t think its that well populated so in the grand scheme of things its not a major issue as its farmland and a few houses. As for that chap with his new house, well more the fool he is, building on flood planes means a big garage/car port downstairs but some won’t learn!

    As for dredging, well what use that would be here I don’t know, its hardly like you can argue the water just topped the bank and otherwise had it have been dredged the flow may have saved it, its weeks now repeatedly!

    In any case not dredging does loads for the wildlife instead of obliterating it!

    dave_rudabar
    Member

    The cause of people’s anger for a few weeks now has not been the reluctance to dredge the rivers but the complete lack of government assistance to the communities affected. It’s been down to goodwill amongst the public helping out where they can, with little else happening until recently.

    wrightyson
    Member

    A simple cut and fill exercise could have seen that house a metre higher, but I’d strongly guess that planning would have restricted building it up there. His risk at the end of the day. Valiant effort to keep the water out tho so far…

    CountZero
    Member

    if you choose to live in a wetland formed on reclaimed land i ‘d have thought flooding was to be expected fairly regularly. in fact i read that great swathes of the wetland are specifically designed to be fludded during the winter..

    the last person who tried to hold back the rising water failed why do these somerset folk expect to do any better.

    It was reclaimed many hundreds of years ago, and the locals know how to deal with it, and recognise the fact that flooding is inevitable, and deal with it. BUT, it used to be in the hands of local Water Boards, who had all the equipment necessary to keep the rivers and rhynes clear. Twenty years ago the EA was formed, and took the dredging equipment away and closed the water boards. Subsequently, the Parret and Tone, where they join at Burrowbridge, are twenty-four feet narrower than they should be, because of silt build-up, and the water carrying capacity has been reduced by 40%.
    Also, tree-planting on upland areas has been stopped, and existing cover cleared, because the EU won’t pay subsistence grants to hill farmers if there’s plant coverage, because that reduces grazing!
    Planting trees is a proven way to soak up nearly 60% of rainfall.
    Put those factors together, and even the most dimwitted townie ought to be able to work out that, without the interference by idiotic bureaucrats, allowing the hill farmers to plant trees, and the Levels dwellers to dredge as they have done for centuries, flooding would be very, very much reduced. Hasn’t it occurred to some of you that the villages are actually built on higher ground than the surrounding Levels?
    Most of those villages have never been known to flood, for heaven’s sake! There are farms that have never been flooded in 150 years, and now are under water. Doesn’t that show, clearly, that government interference has wrecked a balance that’s been working for generations?
    Just because some ‘expert’ says dredging wouldn’t work, only knows that said ‘expert’ has no idea how the real world actually works, only what some ‘model’ says ought to work.

    wordnumb
    Member

    I was particularly impressed by the Guardian’s choosing to lead with a story titled “Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war” this morning.

    Shocking photos there, the prospect of a future without cider should make us all take global warming more seriously.

    dekadanse
    Member

    Total governmental cop-out – and then they blame the EA for not providing the leadership which they themselves should give.

    Add to that the inertia and lack of help over the last 6 weeks, as dave rudabar says, and no wonder people would like to string up Cameron, Patterson and even Eric Pickles (if they could find a hoist strong enough).

    But really Tory suicide – rightly or wrongly, most folk in the Levels and surrounding Somerset have been core Tory voters. Not any longer…!

    Premier Icon totalshell
    Subscriber

    govt interferance my r’s.. the flooding has been caused by heavy rain nothing more.. if the rivers had been dredged every day they would still have been overwhelmed..

    dekadanse
    Member

    Shell, sadly you talk nonsense.
    The Fens have more land below sea level than anywhere else in the UK, and are far bigger than the Levels. But no uncontrolled flooding there, despite mega rainfall. Why? Proper drainage. The Dutch engineers under Vermeyden did the job properly in the C17th, and it has been maintained professionally since then. That’s all it takes.

    wordnumb
    Member

    @ Shell
    Yeah but the EA have said all along that dredging would help but not solve the flooding, and that the government have not / had not okayed the more radical ideas put forward since last year.

    CountZero
    Member

    govt interferance my r’s.. the flooding has been caused by heavy rain nothing more.. if the rivers had been dredged every day they would still have been overwhelmed..

    So how come the northern Levels, which still have pumping into a large drain, that hasn’t been subject to silting up, are completely unaffected by flooding? This is the area around Glastonbury, by the way. Any flooding around there is to the usual levels, and they have the same rainfall.
    So much bullshit on here from people who know nothing about the Levels, their history, and how people have managed them for around a thousand years.

    mefty
    Member

    and it has been maintained professionally since then.

    Because they refused to hand it over to the EA and is managed by the Broads Authority.

    the last person who tried to hold back the rising water failed why do these somerset folk expect to do any better.

    The Dutch have been pretty successful.

    There is also a limit on the amount we can contribute to any individual scheme, determined by a benefit-to-cost rule imposed on us by the Treasury.

    Typical bureaucratic answer, maybe if they had not left it so long it would have been cheaper and not breached the guidelines.

    CaptJon
    Member

    dekadanse – Member
    Shell, sadly you talk nonsense.
    The Fens have more land below sea level than anywhere else in the UK, and are far bigger than the Levels. But no uncontrolled flooding there, despite mega rainfall.

    Last year (or maybe year before that) i got a train through the Fens and flood water was very close to the track.

    rudebwoy
    Member

    look more like paddy fields –i dont suppose rice growing is feasible just yet.

    Houses on stilts seems sensible on a flood plain–or even a house boat-but what has happened to all the trees–have the farmers cut them all down to comply with eu directives thereby qualifying for the cash subidy?

    Its a catalogue of unfortunate things that combined with extended rainfall has resulted in what we see and what those unfortunate people have to live with.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    The Fens have more land below sea level than anywhere else in the UK, and are far bigger than the Levels. But no uncontrolled flooding there, despite mega rainfall.

    What mega rainfall? If you look at the rainfall charts you’ll see we’ve had no where near the rain levels that the South West has.

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    Houses on stilts seems sensible on a flood plain

    Garage underneath, no electrics at low level.
    First floor living space.
    Second floor bedrooms.
    Job done.

    Almost entirely unlike the photo of the mega newbuild with the massive garage off to one side – whoops.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Also, tree-planting on upland areas has been stopped, and existing cover cleared, because the EU won’t pay subsistence grants to hill farmers if there’s plant coverage, because that reduces grazing!
    Planting trees is a proven way to soak up nearly 60% of rainfall.

    True, no wonder Christopher Booker is having multiple orgasms – climate change and EU all the same time!!!

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    Garage underneath, no electrics at low level.
    First floor living space.
    Second floor bedrooms.
    Job done.

    That’s what they’ve done with houses on the Cam’s flood plain in Cambridge. This lot regularly flood, although not this year (yet)..


    Why building houses on a flood plain is stupid by brf, on Flickr

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Doesn’t that show, clearly, that government interference has wrecked a balance that’s been working for generations?

    No.

    teenrat
    Member

    In short, the climate is changing and Britain cannot deal with it. I think Britain has been lucky for so long in that the overcrowded, overpopulated Island we live on has somehow managed escape the impacts of nature. Now the balance is shifting and the current infrastructure and practices cannot cope with climate change. Do you hear of devastating floods in the Highlands of Scotland, which has some of the biggest rivers and highest rainfall volumes? – no! and that is because no one cares about the floods up there. The amount of land that people ‘care about’ is increasing and so the impact of flooding becomes worse. This is not the EA’s fault but a legacy of complacency coming home to roost and the Government do not know what to do.

    if you choose to live in a wetland formed on reclaimed land i ‘d have thought flooding was to be expected fairly regularly

    This has been repudiated many time in similar threads: It is.

    As someone pointed out up there, north of the Polden ridge, the rhynes and rivers are draining just fast enough despite the volume of rainwater I see gushing off the south flanks of The Mendip. This flooding event in the area south of Polden is quite exceptional. It seems to have lower drainage capacity. From up on the Polden, it looks like the sea invaded!

    maxtorque
    Member

    Thing is, what ever we spend on “flood defenses” or whatever, it will never be enough. Unlike a lot of the world we are lucky to live with broadly benign climate, and there is no way we could put in place every single “just in case” measure, just in case!

    When you look at all these villages that flood, it’s funny how the Church never floods………… (either the hand of god, or when they built them they knew where to put em, you can decide which….. 😉

    Premier Icon Frodo
    Subscriber

    FWIW I think the EA have done a good job. There are a lot of armchair engineers on here who know **** all.

    The residents are rightly angry at being flooded but directing their anger at the EA and even Goverment is plain wrong. No amount of dredging would have prevented this. There was even an editorial in the New Civil Engineer that suggested that whilst dreding may have delayed the inevitable it would have resulted in more severe flooding downstream in a more urbanised areas.

    The bottom line is that we cannot protect everywhere and as global warming increases mean sea level we may have to sacrifice some of the low lying land to the sea.

    I for one would rather see public money spent more effectively rather than just pandering to the whims of residents who (quite understanably) want to protect their back yard.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    There are a lot of armchair engineers on here who know **** all.

    Where did this come from?

    Klunk
    Member

    it’s not like we haven’t been warned.

    “It is consistent with the climate change message,” he told BBC News. “It is exactly what we expect winters to be like – warmer and wetter, and dryer and hotter summers.”

    maxtorque
    Member

    BTW, just in case there is a danger of people getting hyterical about the “devastation” i’ll just leave this here:

    Suddenly, it doesn’t look so bad no??

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