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Britain’s Floods Made In Westminster

by | 29th, July 2007

GLOBAL warming? More like meddling pillocks:

We have reengineered too many of our rivers. A natural river is slow and meandering between soft banks, not fast and straight between concrete; it has deposition areas and wetlands. Canalising it gets the water off the land quickly, but it does so at the cost of wetlands, aquifers and the natural functioning of river systems. The result is droughts, floods and pollution.

To cap it all, we have redefined flood plains as suburbs and sold a generation of housebuyers into hazard – hazard not only to themselves but to the rest of us who suffer the consequences of disrupted river systems and water with nowhere to go.

Planners under John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, seemed to regard the country as some kind of gigantic, inexhaustible sponge. The water industry stared in dismay at the map of southeast England – already overloaded, and one of the driest regions in Europe – as Prescott’s men sharpened their pencils and sketched in new settlements with the merry abandon of pioneers in a virgin continent.

All will need masses of fresh water. All will expect, when they pull the plug or flush the lavatory, not to have to think about their waste again.

Above all, they do not expect sewage to flood their houses, streets or gardens. Yet, extraordinarily, the water companies were not involved by the government until after its plans for expansion had been published. As a symptom of institutional madness it stands without equal.



Posted: 29th, July 2007 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink