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3rd January 2016 - Telegraph Letters
Extracted from Daily Telegraph Letters
SIR – As first chairman of the Environment Agency and
before that president of the Association of Drainage Authorities, I have
seen successive governments give little priority to flood defence.
The Treasury’s view has always been that an effective
warning system should be enough. In 2000 the situation was made even worse
by the EA chief executive Barbara Young’s instruction to put environmental
concerns before timely maintenance.
Lord De Ramsey
SIR – In 1953, flooding devastated large areas of the
Netherlands, Belgium and England’s East coast. Since then, the Dutch have
made flood prevention a leading priority.
I suggest that David Cameron contact the appropriate
Dutch department, which will explain what must be done in the short term and
deliver a long – term resolution.
SIR – Some senior politicians seem happy to link the
recent floods with global warming.
None mention that, under the European Water Framework
Directive 2000, watercourses are to be kept in their natural state, a policy
that has brought about the almost complete cessation of dredging. In order
to prevent inundation, a watercourse has to be big enough to take away any
water that flows into it. This simple fact has been well understood
throughout recorded history. Local authorities had to ensure that
watercourses were cleaned, deepened and embanked.
Surely we should, like the Dutch, ignore the European
Directive and revert to the proper maintenance of our rivers.
SIR – I am intrigued by the claim that Britain has
witnessed “unprecedented flooding events” in Cumbria and York in recent
I can recall similar events in the Trent valley in 1954
and 1947 (where 9,000 properties were affected). We must also remember the
floods in 1875, 1852, 1824 and in 1795 where the greatest flood ever to hit
the area was recorded. Then there was 1683, then 1403 and, of course, 1309.
It would seem that climate change has been happening for
longer than many would have us believe.
SIR – Over the last week residents in flood-threatened
areas were told to listen to their local radio stations for information.
Unfortunately, such information was not always helpful.
On Tuesday morning BBC Radio York announced: “The telephone exchange is
flooded, landlines and mobile networks are inoperative and the internet is
down: further details are on our Facebook page.”
160103 – Five Letters - Telegraph