Monday, February 24, 2014

Flawed climate policy causes a flood disaster

I'm cynically unsurprised at the revelation that the recent devastating floods in England were deliberately caused by the policies of the previous government, driven by concerns over climate change.  The Telegraph reports:

Devastating evidence has now come to light not just that the floods ... could have been prevented, but that they were deliberately engineered by Labour ministers in 2009, regardless of the property and human rights of the thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods would be affected. Furthermore, that wildly misleading Met Office forecast in November led the Environment Agency to take a step that has made the flooding infinitely more disastrous than it need have been.

The “smoking guns” begin with a policy decision announced in 2005 by Labour’s “floods minister” Elliot Morley ... Under the heading “Saving wetland habitats: more money for key sites”, Morley directed that, to comply with the EU’s habitats directive and a part-EU-funded study involving the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the WWF and the Environment Agency, flooding in Somerset should be artificially promoted, because “wildlife will benefit from increased water levels”. The 13 local drainage boards, responsible for keeping the Levels properly managed, were all to be co-opted into implementing this policy.

The Environment Agency had already stopped proper dredging of the River Parrett, which provides the main channel draining floodwater on the Levels to the sea, because of the exorbitant cost of disposing of silt under EU waste regulations. And Morley had vetoed a proposal to build a new pumping station at Dunball, at the end of the massive Kings Sedgemoor Drain, which would have allowed much more effective, 24-hour pumping of flood water into the mouth of the Parrett estuary,

In 2008, an Environment Agency policy document on the “Parrett Catchment Area” admitted that it was “still not completely clear” how much the deliberate increase in flooding would breach “the property rights and Human Rights” of those whose homes and businesses would be damaged. Yet in 2009, the government gave £8 million to “restore” – ie, increase flooding on – 10 Somerset “floodplains”, including the purchase of a large area of farmland at Southlake Moor next to Burrowbridge on the Parrett, which had been drained since the 13th century. It was to be handed over to Natural England to “store” water as habitat for birds when, as the Met Office was already predicting, climate change would bring drier winters.

This was where November’s forecast came in, because it led the Environment Agency deliberately to flood Southlake Moor in the expectation of a dry winter. When those December and January rains poured down, this large expanse of water-sodden ground blocked the draining to the already horribly silted-up Parrett of a very much larger area of farmland to the east. This was made even worse by the lack of that Dunball pumping station, vetoed by Morley, at the sea end of the Kings Sedgemoor Drain.

Thus came about the disaster that has filled our television screens for weeks. The hydrology of this vast area had been sabotaged by the Labour government’s deliberate, EU-compliant policy, directed by the Environment Agency.

There's more at the link.

The fact that this happened in England should be cold comfort to those of us in the USA.  We're seeing exactly the same sort of ideologically driven decisions affecting our own environment just as negatively - witness the current water crisis in California as just one example.

I'm more and more of the opinion that there can be no compromise with the environmentalist idiots who raise such a hue and cry about 'climate change' and 'environmental preservation' and the like.  Their mantras have proven scientifically flawed and practically disastrous so often that no right-thinking person can take them seriously any more.  That's a great pity, because there's a lot to be said for the right sort of conservation and environmental consciousness . . . but when one sees so little of it among the activists, I'm afraid the environment baby tends to get thrown out along with the propagandist bath-water.  The truth is so seldom in them.



Old NFO said...

I have no doubt it's coming here... 'Emotions' are the driver, not actual facts... sigh

Chaplain Tim said...

Old NFO, it's not coming here, it has been here for years. I live near the Missouri River. In 2011 we experienced flooding above the 500 year mark due to the Army Corp of Engineers (who control the dams and regulate water releases) working within a set of rules designed by environmentalists, with no regard for the people and farmland downstream. I watched a local business build eight miles of berm, twenty feet high, to keep the river out of their facility. I watched a nuclear power plant struggle to stay dry (they were refueling, so they were shut down at the time). I have seen a river that was brought under control in the 1950s (to prevent flooding) unleashed for the benefit of two species of fish and a bird. Bridges were damaged, roads were undercut, fields had massive gouges carved out of them, buildings were destroyed, and some of the land has still not recovered.
All of this was preventable and had been prevented in the past, but the new rules designed to "protect" the pallid sturgeon, least tern, and piping plover ignored the human costs and were so inflexible that the ACoE had to choose between flooding or a lawsuit. They chose the flood.

Anonymous said...

When I lived in England my landlord told me that Britain had reclaimed far more land from the sea than the Netherlands. Don't know if that was true but there were several rivers such as the River Ouze (Sp?) that were actually 15 or 20 feet above the surrounding land.

As far as the Least Tern, well that darn bird caused missile launches to be rescheduled around its nesting season when I was stationed at Vandenberg AFB in the late 80s. If it is so rare how come it is all over the the western U.S.?


Paul said...

Yep...maybe 30 years ago there where some bad apples polluting stuff, but the EPA has outlived its mandate by at least a decade. I would and will vote for anyone running on Change it Back.

Shut this things off at the source. Stop them from lobbying as one thing. No union people can work for them and cut the budget by 20% per year.

Robert the Biker said...

Quite true, much of the East (the fens) and the Severn basin were once near uninhabitable swamp.
Not a little of the draining and land reclaim was done by and for the Church by the monks and their tied peasantry.
We should have stuck with them instead of putting dickheads in charge.

Sarsen said...

You know, up here in the PacNW the states require construction contractors to install all kinds of erosion control measures to prevent sediment from entering our streams and rivers. But farmers? Naw, they don't have to do anything. It's also quite apparent that soil erosion from farms is quite a bit larger than any from construction activities. Still they just turn a blind eye to that sort of thing.