Floods in Britain and Ireland

Ken writes:

England seems to have been hit by heavy floods recently and obviously it has occurred this time in an area that matters. (I don’t watch news on television, normally, but I caught the scrolling headlines on Sky news recently while waiting for someone at the airport). Ireland too has been hit by heavy flooding in Cork and Limerick. Dublin hasn’t been affected as far as I know, and we’re sitting pretty at 31m above sea level.

I’ve read some interesting things about it. For example, Jonathan Freedland writes in the Guardian that it is basically inconsistent for David Cameron to say the UK Government will spare no expense to help the victims of the floods but at the same time impose policies of austerity.

And George Monbiot has some interesting things to say about the causes of flooding. I admit I’m inclined to believe him. He says, essentially, that flooding downstream is the inevitable consequences of policies that discourage land use practices that would soak up the excess water upstream. Farmers have an incentive not to leave hill country forest and bog land to soak up water which means it all ends up in the rivers.

I also read in the Telegraph, that planning permission had already been granted for new developments on the flooded plains themselves.

Surely if these extreme weather events are going to become more likely then citizens have a right to governments who will make decisions based on science and realism rather than investor greed, folly and political expediency.

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6 thoughts on “Floods in Britain and Ireland

  1. Meri

    I totally agree. Unfortunately I cannot see how voters can truly influence how policies are made. Particularly as the party I voted for is at least in part governing this country, and I can’t spot many of the goals and promises they made being actually carried out. I don’t have voter apathy, I have voter despair.

  2. Mairi Jay

    The economic consequences of those floods, not to mention the human costs and impacts on wildlife, soils etc. are what Nicholas Stern was talking about several years ago. Basically politicians are followers, not leaders; they follow the dictates of the truly powerful. And the truly powerful have not yet come to see climate change as a risk to themselves.

  3. Mairi Jay

    PS Many aspects of the Hunger Games series seem to me prophetic; the division between the impoverished and crowded masses and the immensely wealthy living in their tightly fortified cocoon with spy technology that can monitor everyone, everywhere, seems to me particularly so. In my view, the Hunger Games really isn’t far-fetched fantasy.

  4. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    And it is by no means only farming practices. Every time we pave an area we create run-off rather than soak in. I feel rather guilty about the large brick area in our front garden and paving in the back, but console myself with the number of trees we have squeezed into that back garden – and its general wildness – laziness too has its swings and round-abouts.

    1. kenanddot

      You’re dead right about paving. I quite like those knobbly, holey paving stones you see that let grass grow through but still provide a hard standing for cars.

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