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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.

Simon Lever
Winchester, Hampshire


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.

Teresa Carradice
Carnforth, Lancashire


SIR – I am intrigued by the claim that Britain has witnessed “unprecedented flooding events” in Cumbria and York in recent weeks.

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. And 1141.

It would seem that climate change has been happening for longer than many would have us believe.

Dennis Nyer
Bridport, Dorset


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.”

Chris Wood


160103 – Five Letters - Telegraph