LiveSomerset floods: County "hugely disappointed" over Government cash snub

First published in Somerset
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Summary

  • Environment Secretary arrived in Somerset on Sunday
  • MP had a briefing at Sedgemoor District Council and has been visiting flood-hit communities today (Monday)
  • Government rules out additional funding for flood-hit communities
  • Tens of thousands of acres remain under water
  • Dredging petition attracts more than 4,000 signatures

Comments (10)

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12:08pm Mon 27 Jan 14

souwesterly says...

Please excuse my viewpoint because it doesn’t come across as being sympathetic to landowners in the Somerset Levels but there is another view that should be considered.

The village of Muchelney was recorded in the Doomsday Book as ‘Micelenie’ meaning 'the increasingly great island' and is standing on land that was reclaimed from the Somerset marshes.
Those marshes were and always have been a natural run-off area for excessive rainfall in and around the area and they’ve flooded since time immemorial, by all impressions.
In addition, as they lie not far above sea level, should sea levels rise as is implied by scientists, high tides will further inundate the Levels in the future.

Regrettably therefore, in my opinion, those who live there must allow for nature to run it’s course; for floods to happen; for access to be cut-off and for land to be unusable.
Surely those who’ve bought land or property in the area were aware of the flood risks.
Surely they understood that severe weather would cause problems for them.

I won’t go into the dredging discussion except to say that in my opinion, causing the water to run off faster will increase erosion – and the next thing will be that farmers are complaining of poor soils or of topsoil just plain missing.
The soil itself is the result of alluvial activity – without floods, bringing with them the soil itself, there would be nothing to farm on.....

I know that not everyone will like my comments but as I’m trying to say, the Somerset Levels have always flooded and whatever we do, they’ll continue to do so.
I do indeed sympathise with flooded homeowners and farmers with nowhere to graze their cattle, but there are two sides to the story.
Please excuse my viewpoint because it doesn’t come across as being sympathetic to landowners in the Somerset Levels but there is another view that should be considered. The village of Muchelney was recorded in the Doomsday Book as ‘Micelenie’ meaning 'the increasingly great island' and is standing on land that was reclaimed from the Somerset marshes. Those marshes were and always have been a natural run-off area for excessive rainfall in and around the area and they’ve flooded since time immemorial, by all impressions. In addition, as they lie not far above sea level, should sea levels rise as is implied by scientists, high tides will further inundate the Levels in the future. Regrettably therefore, in my opinion, those who live there must allow for nature to run it’s course; for floods to happen; for access to be cut-off and for land to be unusable. Surely those who’ve bought land or property in the area were aware of the flood risks. Surely they understood that severe weather would cause problems for them. I won’t go into the dredging discussion except to say that in my opinion, causing the water to run off faster will increase erosion – and the next thing will be that farmers are complaining of poor soils or of topsoil just plain missing. The soil itself is the result of alluvial activity – without floods, bringing with them the soil itself, there would be nothing to farm on..... I know that not everyone will like my comments but as I’m trying to say, the Somerset Levels have always flooded and whatever we do, they’ll continue to do so. I do indeed sympathise with flooded homeowners and farmers with nowhere to graze their cattle, but there are two sides to the story. souwesterly
  • Score: 24

1:51pm Mon 27 Jan 14

sceptic_steve says...

Well souwesterly that is an excellent point.

We should also stop treating cancer patients too and no longer prescribe Penicllin as this wasn't available at the times of the Doomsday Book and let nature take its true course. Hell let's stop giving pensioners flu jabs and go back to the good old days of 1918-1920 and have another flu pandemic. We get the added benefit of no longer having to pay out for pensions and heating allowances then when the old folks croak!

While we are at it lets make all cars illegal, cease gas and electric supplies and no longer have a source of disease free drinking water. After all nature didn't intend us to have such things and it should be allowed to run it's course, leaving us in caves and mud huts.
Well souwesterly that is an excellent point. We should also stop treating cancer patients too and no longer prescribe Penicllin as this wasn't available at the times of the Doomsday Book and let nature take its true course. Hell let's stop giving pensioners flu jabs and go back to the good old days of 1918-1920 and have another flu pandemic. We get the added benefit of no longer having to pay out for pensions and heating allowances then when the old folks croak! While we are at it lets make all cars illegal, cease gas and electric supplies and no longer have a source of disease free drinking water. After all nature didn't intend us to have such things and it should be allowed to run it's course, leaving us in caves and mud huts. sceptic_steve
  • Score: -6

2:57pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Gizmo17 says...

All you need to remember is that this isn't London. Need I say more!!!
All you need to remember is that this isn't London. Need I say more!!! Gizmo17
  • Score: 7

3:20pm Mon 27 Jan 14

#UKMum says...

We in the South East are trying to influence those in tyhe ConDem Cabal. I have written to my MP this morning about Paterson and George Monbiot has published a good article on what might be done based on a study from Wales.
http://www.monbiot.c
om/2014/01/13/drowni
ng-in-money/
We in the South East are trying to influence those in tyhe ConDem Cabal. I have written to my MP this morning about Paterson and George Monbiot has published a good article on what might be done based on a study from Wales. http://www.monbiot.c om/2014/01/13/drowni ng-in-money/ #UKMum
  • Score: 0

3:21pm Mon 27 Jan 14

St. Austell says...

Did anyone think that a visit to the Levels by Paterson was going to achieve anything of significance having regard to the inhabitants having no significant lobby to influence the outcome of the next general election? As far as Paterson is concerned its a matter of:
"I care not for your predicament: I'm inboard."
As a side issue on reading:
"Owen Paterson has arrived at Northmoor Pumping Station with a small police escort."
who is paying for the police presence at this time, the Somerset taxpayer no doubt?
Did anyone think that a visit to the Levels by Paterson was going to achieve anything of significance having regard to the inhabitants having no significant lobby to influence the outcome of the next general election? As far as Paterson is concerned its a matter of: "I care not for your predicament: I'm inboard." As a side issue on reading: "Owen Paterson has arrived at Northmoor Pumping Station with a small police escort." who is paying for the police presence at this time, the Somerset taxpayer no doubt? St. Austell
  • Score: 10

3:22pm Mon 27 Jan 14

souwesterly says...

Dear septic_steve,
Your arguments don’t hold water, I’m afraid!
Taking your comments to extremes you could say that we might as well do away with doctors and hospitals; have cars, trains and planes obliterated as sources of death and injury; fill in every pond and swimming pool. Nah – it doesn’t work.
By your thinking, if someone chooses to buy or build a house on the top of a mountain then we should pay for them to have free additional heating and free snow ploughing, etc. No way!

I didn’t entirely say that nature should be left to it’s own devices – I implied that in the case of the Somerset Levels, nature is going to have her own way, whether we like it or not. Short of barricading the entire sea side of the levels (say from Watchet through to Weston); as well as providing tidal gates for outgoing water and vessels on each river, we probably aren’t going to succeed in protecting the area from occasional inundations.
The forecast models suggest a sea level rise of anything up to half a metre within the next 50 years or so – which would cause severe floods to become an annual event, especially if a warmer planet might also mean more rain. (Ok – these are theoretical figures and not everyone believes in global warming, but it makes sense to me)

But getting back to the main problem.....rivers all have a similar profile. They start out steeply wherein they cut through the rocks. Then they enlarge and become more powerful, so they move larger amounts of material and also become wider and finally they tend to level out as they near the coast and deposit their alluvium....their mud and gravel.
That then builds up year on year and the only way to shift it is by dredging. And look what’s happened in America (for example) where they now have to spend many millions to keep the Mississippi under control and between its substantially raised banks.

So the only way to deal with the flooding on the Levels would be to dredge the rivers (in conjunction with the aforementioned barricades) and bank them up constantly.....and no government in this day and age is going to support that.

So I’ll revert to my original thought – that the Levels really should be left as they are. If I were in government I’d be inclined to compensate and relocate all who wanted to move and let those who preferred to stay to make their own arrangements.
I agree that that sounds cold but I can see very few alternatives that’ll be acceptable to everyone.

By the way, Wikipedia says – “Discussions have taken place concerning the possibility of obtaining World Heritage Site status for the Somerset Levels and Moors as a "cultural landscape". It was suggested that if this bid were successful it could improve flood control, but only if wetland fens were created again.”
Unfortunately the plans were abandoned in June 2010 because the Government dithered for too long about funding.
And if they dithered then, then they’re not liable to cough up now either.
Dear septic_steve, Your arguments don’t hold water, I’m afraid! Taking your comments to extremes you could say that we might as well do away with doctors and hospitals; have cars, trains and planes obliterated as sources of death and injury; fill in every pond and swimming pool. Nah – it doesn’t work. By your thinking, if someone chooses to buy or build a house on the top of a mountain then we should pay for them to have free additional heating and free snow ploughing, etc. No way! I didn’t entirely say that nature should be left to it’s own devices – I implied that in the case of the Somerset Levels, nature is going to have her own way, whether we like it or not. Short of barricading the entire sea side of the levels (say from Watchet through to Weston); as well as providing tidal gates for outgoing water and vessels on each river, we probably aren’t going to succeed in protecting the area from occasional inundations. The forecast models suggest a sea level rise of anything up to half a metre within the next 50 years or so – which would cause severe floods to become an annual event, especially if a warmer planet might also mean more rain. (Ok – these are theoretical figures and not everyone believes in global warming, but it makes sense to me) But getting back to the main problem.....rivers all have a similar profile. They start out steeply wherein they cut through the rocks. Then they enlarge and become more powerful, so they move larger amounts of material and also become wider and finally they tend to level out as they near the coast and deposit their alluvium....their mud and gravel. That then builds up year on year and the only way to shift it is by dredging. And look what’s happened in America (for example) where they now have to spend many millions to keep the Mississippi under control and between its substantially raised banks. So the only way to deal with the flooding on the Levels would be to dredge the rivers (in conjunction with the aforementioned barricades) and bank them up constantly.....and no government in this day and age is going to support that. So I’ll revert to my original thought – that the Levels really should be left as they are. If I were in government I’d be inclined to compensate and relocate all who wanted to move and let those who preferred to stay to make their own arrangements. I agree that that sounds cold but I can see very few alternatives that’ll be acceptable to everyone. By the way, Wikipedia says – “Discussions have taken place concerning the possibility of obtaining World Heritage Site status for the Somerset Levels and Moors as a "cultural landscape". It was suggested that if this bid were successful it could improve flood control, but only if wetland fens were created again.” Unfortunately the plans were abandoned in June 2010 because the Government dithered for too long about funding. And if they dithered then, then they’re not liable to cough up now either. souwesterly
  • Score: 7

3:23pm Mon 27 Jan 14

St. Austell says...

Did anyone think that a visit to the Levels by Paterson was going to achieve anything of significance having regard to the inhabitants having no significant lobby to influence the outcome of the next general election? As far as Paterson is concerned its a matter of:
"I care not for your predicament: I'm inboard."
As a side issue on reading:
"Owen Paterson has arrived at Northmoor Pumping Station with a small police
escort."
who is paying for the police presence at this time, the Somerset taxpayer no doubt?
Did anyone think that a visit to the Levels by Paterson was going to achieve anything of significance having regard to the inhabitants having no significant lobby to influence the outcome of the next general election? As far as Paterson is concerned its a matter of: "I care not for your predicament: I'm inboard." As a side issue on reading: "Owen Paterson has arrived at Northmoor Pumping Station with a small police escort." who is paying for the police presence at this time, the Somerset taxpayer no doubt? St. Austell
  • Score: 1

10:29am Tue 28 Jan 14

Blue Owl says...

So here we have another spokesperson Kate Marks from the Enviroment Agency, spouting that Dredging is not the answer, when will these people get on with what we the people, residents, councils , both SDC and Now SCC, our Two MP 's, are demanding...........
....
These who desist, the Dredging must GO NOW !!!!!!!!!
David L Preece
Blue-Owl
Enough is Now Enough!!!! Get Rid of Them, in place of the Groundworkers, who are doing a great job made more difficult by their Bosses in E A House.
So here we have another spokesperson Kate Marks from the Enviroment Agency, spouting that Dredging is not the answer, when will these people get on with what we the people, residents, councils , both SDC and Now SCC, our Two MP 's, are demanding........... .... These who desist, the Dredging must GO NOW !!!!!!!!! David L Preece Blue-Owl Enough is Now Enough!!!! Get Rid of Them, in place of the Groundworkers, who are doing a great job made more difficult by their Bosses in E A House. Blue Owl
  • Score: 1

12:28pm Tue 28 Jan 14

missie-m says...

I think Mr Paterson is now trying to flood all the badgers out of Somerset
I think Mr Paterson is now trying to flood all the badgers out of Somerset missie-m
  • Score: 3

3:09pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Somerset:SocialistParty says...

A member of the Somerset branch of the Socialist Party writes:

Somerset residents need fully-funded environmental planning

Residents in Somerset still find their homes underwater four weeks after the initial floods. Villages on the Somerset Levels have been most affected, and while communities expect some flooding in these areas, the affect of government cuts and climate change have meant these "once in a hundred years events" are happening every year.

This week Owen Patterson, the Tory environment secretary, visited Somerset to witness the damage himself. He left without speaking to any residents and has also made misleading statements, saying that the Coalition has spent more money on flood prevention than the previous Labour government. This is untrue.

One reason why this year's flooding has been so severe is because the river Parrett, where the flood water is supposed to drain into, has not been dredged. This is obviously due to the huge cuts to the Environment Agency - reportedly up to 40%. What makes this worse is that these dangers were already highlighted in a previous flooding plan written last year. The Con-Dem coalition has ignored this, and the wider concern about flooding, in favour of their austerity agenda. This is madness when put in the context of climate change.

Somerset residents don't need vacuous statements from visiting ministers or Princes. We need fully-funded environmental planning, which can try to mitigate the problems of climate change, not exacerbate them. However, all the three main parties support cuts; to the Environment Agency as well as the NHS, education and councils. We need a new party that not only provides funding for environmental planning, but also uses a socialist plan of production to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and pollution in order to reduce climate change.

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o

rg.uk
A member of the Somerset branch of the Socialist Party writes: Somerset residents need fully-funded environmental planning Residents in Somerset still find their homes underwater four weeks after the initial floods. Villages on the Somerset Levels have been most affected, and while communities expect some flooding in these areas, the affect of government cuts and climate change have meant these "once in a hundred years events" are happening every year. This week Owen Patterson, the Tory environment secretary, visited Somerset to witness the damage himself. He left without speaking to any residents and has also made misleading statements, saying that the Coalition has spent more money on flood prevention than the previous Labour government. This is untrue. One reason why this year's flooding has been so severe is because the river Parrett, where the flood water is supposed to drain into, has not been dredged. This is obviously due to the huge cuts to the Environment Agency - reportedly up to 40%. What makes this worse is that these dangers were already highlighted in a previous flooding plan written last year. The Con-Dem coalition has ignored this, and the wider concern about flooding, in favour of their austerity agenda. This is madness when put in the context of climate change. Somerset residents don't need vacuous statements from visiting ministers or Princes. We need fully-funded environmental planning, which can try to mitigate the problems of climate change, not exacerbate them. However, all the three main parties support cuts; to the Environment Agency as well as the NHS, education and councils. We need a new party that not only provides funding for environmental planning, but also uses a socialist plan of production to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions and pollution in order to reduce climate change. For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset:SocialistParty
  • Score: -4

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