Friday, 3 August 2007

Flooding... nothing but despair?

Thought I'd write something as I work at the Environment Agency so
I've been on the inside of one of the organisations dealing with the
recent horrendous floods in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and of course
Gloucestershire (which fell within our area). Fortunately for me, I'm
not actually in the flood team or I'd be walking around, like they are,
with large bags under my eyes! However because of the sheer scale, we
still got involved, helping to man the control centre in Gloucester and
supplying information about flooded sites, which might need to be
monitored for pollution.

Having seen the hours people were putting in, it was sad and
frustrating to see how quickly the criticisms began (a press ritual).
This was rainfall on a ridiculous scale and I suspect that no amount of
planning and response could have averted all flooding. There were also
the bizarre stories such as the people who tried to steal temporary
flood barriers, while they were still up and holding back the water.
What were they thinking? One of the reasons that the barriers for Upton
are kept some distance away is because people try to steal them for
scrap so they have to be kept at a centralised secure depot. It's quite
depressing really.

So now the worst seems over. Hopefully planners will rethink approaches
to developing on flood-risk land and hopefully far more money will now
come from government to spend on flood defences.

So that's work, but on the campaigning side, awful as it's been for
those affected, I'm hoping it's a wake up call to the government (and a
lot of the public) that climate change is costly in many ways. Will it
finally sink in that money spent now to minimise climate change will be
money saved in the long run? If it doesn't, then I really will

Kate Nancarrow