Somerset Floods – Manmade disaster

James Delingpole has just written an article 10 Lefty Lies About The Floods Which Have Devastated Britain published at It deals with the common lies about how the situation has come about.

Christopher Booker, who earlier identified the “immediate” problem as the lack of dredging, also writes for The Spectator.  In Revealed: how green ideology turned a deluge into a flood. Booker wrote:

Somerset saw the floods coming. The Environment Agency should have, too.

Indeed they did. Not so long ago, the UK’s Environment Agency published Historic Flood Levels and Hydraulic Modelling (PDF). The summary sheet, using rainfall figures from recent times (November 2012) clearly shows the projected effectiveness of dredging in lowering flood levels and allowing floodwaters to recede quickly. Here’s one of the charts from the summary sheet:Effectiveness of DredgingWith dredging, the area under analysis has much lower flood levels of much shorter duration.

In 2001, the Institution of Civil Engineers recommended a doubling of expenditure on flood defences (section 5.8). The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) made similar recommendations. That didn’t happen.

Booker further writes:

A key part in this had been played by those EU directives which govern almost everything the Environment Agency gets up to — including two with which Baroness Young was already familiar when she presided over the RSPB — setting out the EU’s policy on ‘habitats’ and ‘birds’. But just as important was a 2007 directive on the ‘management of flood risks’, which required ‘flood plains’, in the name of ‘biodiversity’, to be made subject to increased flooding.

Baroness Barbara (“Just add Water”) Young had a hand in formulating and promoting EU environment policies, having, in 1998 chaired at least one session of the Natura 2000 Strategy meetings in Bath (PDF). Appointing her as chief of the Environment Agency was like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. It allowed her and her like-minded appointees in the mega-Quango to effectively do as they please, using EU policy and dictats as justification for their actions, when they themselves had a hand in writing those rules.

The periodic flooding of the Somerset Levels was part of the agricultural cycle; controlled by drainage and the pumping the water into the rivers. River levels are now too high to permit pumping and the silt dredged from other waterways was no longer allowed to be simply spread across the land, but was only pushed up onto the banks of the drains and tributaries. The result is that the silt is washed straight back into the waterway whenever the water level rises due to heavy rain.

All of that together limits the rate of drainage. Which is now being discovered at the Dutch pumps brought in to help drain the flood waters have to be stopped because the rivers are too silted up to discharge the volume of water quickly enough.

Land which has been used for productive agriculture and habitation is waterlogged by being submerged for over a month. And that land use isn’t new; it’s been going on for centuries; ever since the first rhynes were cut under the reign of Charles I in the early 1600’s.

Richard North of EUReferendum who also spotted the tip of the iceberg early on, blogs Flooding: a sledgehammer to miss the nut; noting that the Agency’s objective of providing habitat for wildlife is destroying wildlife. by drowning and starvation.

Update 2014-02-18

somerset bridgeA composite picture published in the UK Telegraph: The black and white photo shows Burrowbridge in the 1960’s, while dredging was done on a regular basis. The picture below that shows the silted-up river and the over-flow holes at the side blocked. The result is the level of high water in the picture on the right.

Update 2 2014-02-18

Matt Ridley writes: There is no evidence, Mr Miliband, Lord Stern and others, that our floods and storms are related to climate change.

In the old days we would have drowned a witch to stop the floods. These days the Green Party, Greenpeace and Ed Miliband demand we purge the climate sceptics

Andrew Montford of the Bishop Hill blog observes that the UK’s Met Office has seen it necessary to address the apparent contradiction between the statement by their Chief Scientist Julia Slingo that “all the evidence suggests there is a link to climate change” and the statement by Professor Mat Collins that “There is no evidence that global warming can cause the jet stream to get stuck in the way it has this winter. If this is due to climate change, it is outside our knowledge”.

In doing so, the Met Office has drawn upon its previous reports which support Professor Collins’ comment; leaving Slingo bobbing about in her coracle upon the floodwaters without a paddle.

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