Blog: Doing nothing is not an option


North East Environment Forum member Richard Bramley has seen his farm flooded eight times since 2000. With farmers facing these impacts much more frequently, he questions what can be done to manage the flood risk and aftermath?

He writes:

So here we are again wondering what to do following yet another series major flooding events in our region.

Although the impacts on people’s homes, shops and businesses are significant, most of the water ends up on farmland at the farmer’s cost. Yet farmers are few in number and frequently our plight is overlooked. If farms didn’t provide this buffer, it could be so much worse – it is a real community service.

So how do we improve the situation for farmers who are now getting hit with flooding so much more frequently? Firstly, we must appreciate that our river systems, from hill top to sea level, are largely managed and impacted on by man’s activity and have been for centuries.

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Secondly, without wishing to come across all ‘Mystic Meg’ and telling you what’s going to happen, it is clear that we have very different weather/climate now and more extreme weather is likely to become the norm. Recognising that this is inevitable, and given our managed landscape, doing nothing is not an option.

That said, I believe that it isn’t just a case of spending vast amounts on building more flood defences. It’s easy for a politician to focus on such defences – it’s not their money after all!

Instead I think we should make use of satellites, drones, LIDAR (laser-radar), geomorphological studies and sophisticated computer models to really analyse how river catchments act as complex systems, and react in different ways in different scenarios. We must use these tools, together with remote sensing, to work out how best to manage the water flow in river systems.

With this approach, we can work out the best place to spend money, and solutions will be different in different places, depending on a range of factors.

This no overnight task, as the development of the new River Hull Catchment Strategy has shown, but it will yield a better understanding of our systems and highlight how we can best manage them for the long term.

In the meantime we must ensure that proper support is provided to affected businesses and make sure that what we have in the way of flood management is in good working order and properly maintained.

  • Posted by: Gini TrowerPosted on: 13/01/2016 19:28:17

    Comment: It was very interesting to read Richards comments about flooding. Could someone please explain the facts behind the flooding. Do the Environment Agency just release the water without informing anyone. Last week we had cattle and sheep in a field that yesterday was flooded and it was definitely not due to heavy rain. Luckily the animals, by chance had been moved the week before, but I dread to think what would have happened if they had still been there . Surely farmers bordering flood plains should be informed before the water is released ?
  • Posted by: Geoff. Watson.Posted on: 13/01/2016 19:41:14

    Comment: ... or why don't we dredge harbours and rivers and generally keep all waterways free flowing as we always have done before all this environmentalist non-sense.
  • Posted by: Ann NelsonPosted on: 07/02/2016 13:44:00

    Comment: Here in West Lancashire in the Alt=Crossens catchment notice has been served on 5 satellite pumping stations. In the flooding on Boxing day 2015 our land was extensively flooded. Once the pumps are turned off and our land waterlogged if or rather when we have another storm there will be nowhere for this flood water to go except through the local village. We are been held to ramsom by the environment agency who promote the formation of an internal drainage board. Unfortunately there is no money available from central government for setting up a new IDB. With a growing population which needs feeding and more extreme weather, I feel the government is very short sighted

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