Thank you for the stance you have taken this week. As a flood victim who is currently camping upstairs following Ciara inundation, Dennis close call and watching the water rise again as we receive the third months’ worth of rain within a fortnight, I am grateful that you are highlighting tangible issues where changes can be made. I know there’s been bad press about the lawn issue, but it is far more effective than only blocking roads.
I know a civil engineer who is involved with Local Authorities planning for flood mitigation/ alleviation. Recent flooding situations are obviously caused by the extreme weather events we are experiencing. However, they are exacerbated by the increased level of development we are seeing. The River Don floods in December had such a huge impact as the water from the catchment area came downstream in 12 hours when previously it would have taken 24 hours. The models for issuing warnings are affected because the characteristics of the river have changed. We also experienced this in Storm Ciara. 4 years ago we flooded in Storm Desmond. The time between the river reaching the trigger height for a warning to be issued and the water entering our house was 12 hours. This is the maximum time we have to move our belongings. In Storm Ciara this time period was reduced to 6 hours, despite there being a fraction of the rainfall. This is one reason why turning farmland into a lorry park would be an environmental disaster- it just increases the run off. Another reason it would be a disaster is the threat to our food security from the effects of these increasing extreme weather events. We’ve gone from floods to droughts, extreme cold winters, extreme heat in summer, unusually mild winters- last year we had beach and ice cream weather in February followed by snow in April. Plants struggle to deal with the unpredictable conditions and we have already seen crops failing. Good agricultural land needs to be preserved in order to feed ourselves.