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Thread: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

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    Default Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    The latest news is that there is even more heavy rain on the way and it must be terrible for anyone who's home or livelihood has been ruined by the recent flooding. This is a recurring theme though, with all the usual inevitable talk about engineering solutions to flooding problems and how much money to be allocated to alleviate the mess.

    Our climate is changing and extreme rainfall events are getting more regular. However, the severity of these events are being exacerbated by the modification and/or destruction of parts of our landscape which naturally buffer and protect us from bad flooding events. State bodies show an astonishing ignorance of ecological and hydrological processes in allowing such landscape changes and more worryingly there doesn't even seem to be any voice in the political or media sphere highlighting the issue.

    Firstly rivers themselves have been modified. Canalisation, which involves the straightening of the river channel and the deepening of the bed, has taken away features that would normally slow and help limit the discharge coming down stream. This sadly seems to have happened most of our rivers. The high volume of water reaching the river systems is made worse by the destruction of the best natural barrier, wetlands. In only 16 years, between 1990 and 2006, Ireland lost 10% of its wetlands mainly due to human activities.

    Marshes, swamps, fens, bogs and river floodplains are all considered wetlands and these seem to be parts of the landscape that have had an open season unleashed on them, over the past 40 years in particular. They act has natural sponges, completely free of charge, yet their destruction has been, at best ignored, at worst encouraged, by the state.

    All our rivers at one point had a natural floodplain, functioning as a reservoir. Thankfully for the people of Limerick today, De Valera's attemps at draining the Shannon floodplain came to nothing or the situation would be much worse. As it stands the Shannon is expected to rise in the next few days by about .5m to 1m in places.

    To put things into perspective the river Shannon and its tributaries drain 18,000 km2 of the country. The area of all of Ireland is over 84,000 km2. That's pretty colossal. Counties such as Leitrim, Longford, Roscommon, Westmeath, Offaly and east Galway are included in that area. These were areas where there was significant amounts of raised bog. Whether privately owned or Bord na Mona, water that was once stored in these has nowhere to go, so it is drained off and eventually finds its way into the Shannon river system.

    Another major landscape change is the reclamation of wet and marshy fields for the intensification of agriculture. Again the water that is drained off has to go somewhere. Instead of rewarding farmers to farm sustainably, they are encouraged to increase stocking rates and so drain areas that would have formerly sustained only a few animals, if any at all. The abolition of milk quotas encourages this even further.

    I remember Luke Ming rambling on in the Dáil about flood defences a few years back....you couldn't make it up. It seems we are quite happy to destroy what natural free off charge flood protection we have, and instead pay millions in engineering solutions and compensation for flood victims.

    A smart and green economy indeed!

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Thanks for the post. I agree. You could add to that list of destruction, deforestation - removing trees means rain runs off the slopes of uplands catchments much faster and it is therefore more liable to cause flooding.

    And of course, we are still building on flood plain and "justifying" it.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Absolutely correct and George Monbiot has written a good piece this week about it. We definitely need more native woodlands in our landscape. And we also need to manage our farmland in a more sustainable way.

    I saw a few things on different threads all having a connection with that topic. The rural Ireland thread and the thread on climate change.

    We have Bord Bia branding food products from this country as origin green just because our animals spend a portion of the year outside. That is not what sustainability means. No mention of the massive amounts of fertilisers, slurry, drainage works and herbicides used so that fields can be overstocked with animals who themselves are bred so much now that cows can barely ever calf by themselves any more.

    There is a whole swell running through my head on the topic but I'll leave it there for now!

    Monbiot sums it up well
    Every time disaster strikes we respond with bewilderment. Our understanding of what confronts us seems scarcely to have advanced since we responded to catastrophe by burning old women.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...ds-paris-talks

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    All means should be considered to alleviate the increasing flooding risk that more intense rain fall is bringing and we are getting record breaking rainfall events more frequently than in the past. The water has to go somewhere, these more common flood inducing rains are happening all over these Islands and can't just be laid at the door of development, turf cutting and waterway engineering. Flooding is a natural event, our attempts to alleviate flooding are based on an acceptance of certain 10, 20, 100 year events that we accept we can't really overcome without going through horrendous expense and many failures in the process. Extraordinary rain events are becoming far more frequent than in previous years and records are being broken. When you get a record rainfall event no amount of natural defense will realistically be in place to stop record flooding. It's literally like trying to hold back the tide. Like with the tide you have to work around the tide parameters that are likely to exist where you want to defend against them.

    The big question for me is how do other countries successfully tackle similar flooding problems? We should be pro-active rather than reactive. The Bandon flood defenses haven't been started 5 years after the exceptional 2009 flooding events. Personally I would rather see less tax cuts and money instead spent on important infrastructure such as flood walls and an agreed ( with appropriate compensation payments )for big scale emergency reflooding of old flood plains which have been drained to alleviate pressure on towns and cities.

    Big Engineering solutions that include the use of natural flood defenses are what's needed. It's not an either or solution that should be pursued.

    Bord Na Mona are due to end peat harvesting over the next few decades, why not undrain parts of their vast uninhabited land bank where it'll work to limit flooding?
    Last edited by Shaadi; 09-12-2015 at 01:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaadi View Post
    All means should be considered to alleviate the increasing flooding risk that more intense rain fall is bringing and we are getting record breaking rainfall events more frequently than in the past. The water has to go somewhere, these more common flood inducing rains are happening all over these Islands and can't just be laid at the door of development, turf cutting and waterway engineering. Flooding is a natural event, our attempts to alleviate flooding are based on an acceptance of certain 10, 20, 100 year events that we accept we can't really overcome without going through horrendous expense and many failures in the process. Extraordinary rain events are becoming far more frequent than in previous years and records are being broken. When you get a record rainfall event no amount of natural defense will realistically be in place to stop record flooding. It's literally like trying to hold back the tide. Like with the tide you have to work around the tide parameters that are likely to exist where you want to defend against them.

    The big question for me is how do other countries successfully tackle similar flooding problems? We should be pro-active rather than reactive. The Bandon flood defenses haven't been started 5 years after the exceptional 2009 flooding events. Personally I would rather see less tax cuts and money instead spent on important infrastructure such as flood walls and an agreed ( with appropriate compensation payments )for big scale emergency reflooding of old flood plains which have been drained to alleviate pressure on towns and cities.

    Big Engineering solutions that include the use of natural flood defenses are what's needed. It's not an either or solution that should be pursued.

    Bord Na Mona are due to end peat harvesting over the next few decades, why not undrain parts of their vast uninhabited land bank where it'll work to limit flooding?
    The blocking up of the now exhausted bogs would be a great start. Allow them to hold water again...that is a massive area of land.

    No doubt there needs to be some engineering solutions as there will be places that will be at risk even when natural buffers are in place. There will be record rainfall but ecosystems which act as natural defences can prevent record flooding. It is plain madness to spend massive amounts on huge engineering works when there are alternatives available. Especially as man made defences will always need to be maintained if not up graded. Britain under the Tories is going spending 3.2 billion pounds on downstream flood defences, and there will be a shelf life to those very expensive defences.

    I'm a bit disappointed at the degree of understanding regarding how much of an impact natural defences can have. Though this isn't that surprising as we have basically wiped the landscape clean of most of them. This piece of research in the uplands of Wales goes to show the water retention capacity of just introducing hedgerows, not even forests!, onto upland hills.

    The studies at Pontbren showed that planting tree belts across the slopes led to increased infiltration of water into the soil - more than 60 times that of neighbouring sheep grazed pasture without tree belts. This is as a result of the improved soil structure and effect of tree roots. When this effect was modelled across the catchment the result was a potential reduction in peak stream flows of as much as 40%. This is clear evidence that integrating trees into our upland farms will play a part in reducing flood risk downstream.
    https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blo...-and-flooding/

    And another piece of research in using floodplains for defence
    Modeling undertaken by Forest Research show that woodland strategically located on floodplains can mitigate large flood events by absorbing and delaying the release of flood flows. Research based on the River Cary in south-west England suggested that a 2.2km reach of floodplain woodland could increase flood storage by as much as 71%, delaying the flood peak progressing downstream.
    https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blo...-and-flooding/

    River management in this country seems mad. There has been huge arterial drainage schemes undertaken by the state since 1945 on rivers all over the country, mainly for the following purpose;

    Arterial drainage work carried out on a river involves the artificial widening and deepening of the river channels to enable them to carry away a greater volume of water more quickly. The principal objective of arterial drainage schemes carried out in Ireland by the Office of Public Works (OPW) was to bring about a long term improvement in agricultural incomes in river catchments. The work carried out on schemes was designed to allow landholders to install field drainage which reduces waterlogging of land and enables it to carry more livestock or produce higher crop yields. Schemes also have the effect of reducing both the incidence and duration of flooding.
    http://www.audgen.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp...1+January+2015

    This was the cost of arterial drainage works on two rivers the Boyle and Bonet, Cos Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo, in 1982

    Budgets for the Boyle and Bonet schemes prepared in March 1982 envisaged total expenditure of £14.5 million (in constant 1982 prices) on the work which was actually carried out. Actual expenditure up to December 1995 was £31.6 million (in current prices).
    And then maintenance
    Without adequate maintenance, there is a considerable risk that drained channels may revert to their pre-drainage condition. The OPW is required by law to maintain the schemes it carries out in proper repair and effective condition and spent an estimated £7.9 million on the maintenance of arterial drainage schemes in 1996.
    Arterial drainage schemes cannot eliminate the risk of flooding. Most of the schemes carried out by the OPW were intended to ensure that flooding of agricultural land from the main river channels is not likely to occur, on average, more than once in a three year period.

    The River Bandon has also went under arterial drainage works and the engineering report into flood relief seems to be ridiculously short sighted.

    Following the major flooding of Bandon town in November 2009, the Office of Public Works (OPW) began investigating the feasibility of developing a flood relief scheme to protect Bandon. The 2009 floods had damaged or affected 190 business properties in Bandon and resulted in approximately €140 million in insurance claims across Co Cork. During November 2009, Bandon had received approximately 20% of the total annual rainfall for 2009, resulting in significantly elevated levels in the local river.

    The Bandon Flood Relief Scheme is one of the first drainage schemes to be commenced under the Arterial Drainage Act 1995, following the implementation of the Floods Directive. It is also one of the first schemes to be designed following the pilot Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management Studies (CFRAM Study). The CFRAM Study policy represents a shift, as recommended in the 2004 by the Flood Policy Review Group, towards catchment based, flood risk-management measures.
    http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/...ture-disaster/

    Arterial drainage usually results in eliminating a rivers natural floodplain. Your point of reflooding floodplains is very sensible. The Germans and others realised that this is crucial in preventing towns and cities downstream being submerged.

    During floods on the Rhine in 1995, levees failed and large parts of the Netherlands at the river’s mouth flooded. The country decided that confronting rivers did not work because, however high you raise the levees, a river in flood will find the weakest spot and burst through. It began instead to set aside land for flooding — to "make room for the river."

    That realization, combined with a growing anti-dam movement, has caused big changes in how engineers considered rivers.
    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_succe...d_rivers/2718/

    Amazingly drainage, dredging and walls is what the Bandon solution seems to be and not one mention of trying to incorporate natural defences upstream.

    The proposed scheme that emerged includes of a combination of river dredging and flood-defence walls and embankments. The flood defences includes new defences, upgrading of existing and improvement works to repair some of the infrastructure in place. In addition to dredging and flood defences, other minor works being undertaken. These would include local drainage with pumping stations to protect low-lying properties, drainage and channel improvement works. Non-structural measures currently in place include a flood early-warning system and sustainable urban-drainage systems.

    The scheme is currently at procurement stage as part of a €16 million investment by the OPW and will ultimately lead to protection of 177 residential and 215 commercial properties in Bandon.
    http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/...ture-disaster/

    It seems we're going round and round in circles here. The OPW spend massive amounts on draining land, increase river flows and so, put settlements under greater threat of flooding. When said flood happens they spend millions more in building flood defences and dredging rivers.
    Last edited by Fraxinus; 09-12-2015 at 05:11 PM.

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    There are areas which for whatever reason will need a combination of solutions. Also our rivers have become so modified now that leaving things to the natural world won't work for most of them. In those cases there needs to be greater collaboration between engineering, hydrology and ecology experts.


    From a wider perspective I think things need to be looked at more from the landscape point of view as there are so many inter-linking components.

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    Two solutions; plant a lot more trees and rewrite planning permissions such that dwellings flooded more than once in 10 years are abandoned and owners compensated. Then allow the area to revert to flood plain.

    Cheaper than repairing flood damage every 6 years from one in 100 year events ... So - called.
    "The floggings will continue until morale improves "

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    You have opened my mind here, Fraxinus. I had lots of those things filed under 'Good Stuff Never Finished", like draining the Shannon basin, arterial drainage and increasing land area for food production. We obviously do need a big re-think and the sophisticated approach you recommend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectabilis View Post
    You have opened my mind here, Fraxinus. I had lots of those things filed under 'Good Stuff Never Finished", like draining the Shannon basin, arterial drainage and increasing land area for food production. We obviously do need a big re-think and the sophisticated approach you recommend.
    I've only touched the surface and there is a whole body of work out there. It is heartening to hear your interest as it can be quite disheartening working in a branch of science that is treated with about the same seriousness and respect as the ramblings of the local witch doctor or village idiot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    I've only touched the surface and there is a whole body of work out there. It is heartening to hear your interest as it can be quite disheartening working in a branch of science that is treated with about the same seriousness and respect as the ramblings of the local witch doctor or village idiot.
    That's something I do know. Thirty years pioneering and working with many others in a field that invites derision from those wot never done it! Still, it is now taught in every single university so I can die happy. (Not yet, please)

    But you seem to have a foundation of natural sciences to your work, and that always has status, so I presume it is within the narrow and competitive communities of those sciences that the battle continues.
    Last edited by Spectabilis; 09-12-2015 at 09:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fraxinus View Post
    The blocking up of the now exhausted bogs would be a great start. Allow them to hold water again...that is a massive area of land.

    No doubt there needs to be some engineering solutions as there will be places that will be at risk even when natural buffers are in place. There will be record rainfall but ecosystems which act as natural defences can prevent record flooding. It is plain madness to spend massive amounts on huge engineering works when there are alternatives available. Especially as man made defences will always need to be maintained if not up graded. Britain under the Tories is going spending 3.2 billion pounds on downstream flood defences, and there will be a shelf life to those very expensive defences.

    I'm a bit disappointed at the degree of understanding regarding how much of an impact natural defences can have. Though this isn't that surprising as we have basically wiped the landscape clean of most of them. This piece of research in the uplands of Wales goes to show the water retention capacity of just introducing hedgerows, not even forests!, onto upland hills.


    https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blo...-and-flooding/

    And another piece of research in using floodplains for defence

    https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blo...-and-flooding/

    River management in this country seems mad. There has been huge arterial drainage schemes undertaken by the state since 1945 on rivers all over the country, mainly for the following purpose;


    http://www.audgen.gov.ie/viewdoc.asp...1+January+2015

    This was the cost of arterial drainage works on two rivers the Boyle and Bonet, Cos Roscommon, Leitrim and Sligo, in 1982



    And then maintenance





    The River Bandon has also went under arterial drainage works and the engineering report into flood relief seems to be ridiculously short sighted.

    http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/...ture-disaster/

    Arterial drainage usually results in eliminating a rivers natural floodplain. Your point of reflooding floodplains is very sensible. The Germans and others realised that this is crucial in preventing towns and cities downstream being submerged.

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/a_succe...d_rivers/2718/

    Amazingly drainage, dredging and walls is what the Bandon solution seems to be and not one mention of trying to incorporate natural defences upstream.

    http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/...ture-disaster/

    It seems we're going round and round in circles here. The OPW spend massive amounts on draining land, increase river flows and so, put settlements under greater threat of flooding. When said flood happens they spend millions more in building flood defences and dredging rivers.
    The large cutaway bogs should represent an opportunity to trap and store water which could be used to generate electricity as it is drained away at will at a time when the rivers below them could take the run off. It just needs a concentrated engineering effort to put in sluice gates and develop a hydroelectric generating capacity from the low head pressure that the bogs would most likely have. There's still a resource there and some clever piping ( easily enough done in boglands ) could transport the water to lower ground levels where the head pressure would have built up substantially. It would just take the will to finance and stick with such development work to turn Ireland into a leading user and manufacturer of some clever new hydropower harnessing machinery. The same innovative spirit would work even better in the mountains where the head pressure would be top class.

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    I've been reading one of the few eco-hydrological studies of the Shannon floodplain, also known as the Callows. It was done by a Dutch scientist by the surname Hooijer.
    Keep in mind the study was published in 1996 so landscape modifications have increased since then. One of his findings was that, since the 1930's, the severity of the flooding regime increased with no significant corresponding change in rainfall patterns. He concluded that this was due to increased run-off in the catchment from both major arterial drainage schemes and large-scale peat harvesting, with a marked increase in spring and summer flows. Peat bogs that are intact have high evapotranspiration rates and large storage capacity, most of which are now destroyed.

    A repeat of this study would be very interesting and looking at rainfall patterns since 1996. It might not be that difficult to do a rough desk top one. The OPW have river level data available online and I'm sure MET Eireann have the same. If I get time I will try.

    TD Michael Fitzmaurice I see was calling for dredging to solve the problems, which are apparently being caused by silt. Obviously Michael did his research and understands that dredging deepens the river channel and allows it to hold even greater amounts of water at even great flows. I'm sure the people of Athlone and Limerick would love to have more water coming at them at greater speed.

    However, this isn't just an Irish solution to the flooding problem as the following radio interview shows
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03bh7jv

    Bare hills really aren't the problem in the Shannon catchment (includes all its tributaries) as most of the area is relatively flat, but arterial drainage of rivers and the draining of wetlands and bogs are, although more trees in the landscape would help.
    Last edited by Fraxinus; 15-12-2015 at 02:41 AM.

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    Finally something in the Irish media highlighting the importance of this almost extinct wetland habitat.

    Due to peat extraction, land reclamation and drainage, we now have justone per cent of the raised bogs we once had.

    So, action is necessary to save what’s left and 12 special conservation area (SAC) bogs, mainly in the midlands, have been chosen for an EU-funded project.

    Following the recent UN summit in Paris, groups such as the Environmental Pillar called on the government to restore wetlands, bogs, native woodlands and hedgerows, which can play an important role in preventing flooding and dealing with climate change.
    Our bogs, if restored, could hold substantial volumes of water and contribute to flood relief.

    Put simply, upland bogs could help slow down floodwater and ease the flooding risk, as well as holding carbon and protecting wildlife.

    Raised bogs are extremely rare in global and European terms and our bogs contain the last functioning remnants of the great bogs that once covered much of the Midlands.
    http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifesty...ng-373296.html


    George Monbiot has captured the complexity behind the floods that those at government level seem to blatantly ignore. This is not just a simplistic case of stopping water, it's a combination of changing climate, bad policy, pandering to big farm business, habitat destruction, soil protection and river channel modification.

    Almost as soon as it took office, this government appointed a task force to investigate farming rules. Its chairman was the former director general of the National Farmers' Union. Who could have guessed that he would recommend "an entirely new approach to and culture of regulation … Government must trust industry"? The task force's demands, embraced by Paterson, now look as stupid as Gordon Brown's speech to an audience of bankers in 2004: "In budget after budget I want us to do even more to encourage the risk takers."

    Six weeks before the floods arrived, a scientific journal called Soil Use and Management published a paper warning that disaster was brewing. Surface water run-off in south-west England, where the Somerset Levels are situated, was reaching a critical point. Thanks to a wholesale change in the way the land is cultivated, at 38% of the sites the researchers investigated, the water – instead of percolating into the ground – is now pouring off the fields.

    Farmers have been ploughing land that was previously untilled and switching from spring to winter sowing, leaving the soil bare during the rainy season. Worst of all is the shift towards growing maize, whose cultivated area in this country has risen from 1,400 hectares to 160,000 since 1970.

    In three quarters of the maize fields in the south-west, the soil structure has broken down to the extent that they now contribute to flooding. In many of these fields, soil, fertilisers and pesticides are sloshing away with the water. And nothing of substance, the paper warned, is being done to stop it. Dated: December 2013.

    Maize is being grown in Britain not to feed people, but to feed livestock and, increasingly, the biofuel business. This false solution to climate change will make the impacts of climate change much worse, by reducing the land's capacity to hold water.
    It's hard to get your head round this. The crop which causes most floods and does most damage to soils is the only one which is completely unregulated.

    When soil enters a river we call it silt. A few hundred metres from where the soil is running down the hills, a banner over the River Parrett shouts: "Stop the flooding, dredge the rivers." Angry locals assail ministers and officials with this demand. While in almost all circumstances, dredging causes more problems than it solves, and though, as even Owen Paterson admits, "increased dredging of rivers on the Somerset Levels would not have prevented the recent widespread flooding", there's an argument here for a small amount of dredging at strategic points.

    But to do it while the soil is washing off the fields is like trying to empty the bath while the taps are running.
    You might have entertained the naive belief that in handing out billions to wealthy landowners we would get something in return. Something other than endless whining from the National Farmers' Union. But so successfully has policy been captured in this country that Defra – which used to stand for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – now means Doing Everything Farmers' Representatives Ask. We pay £3.6bn a year for the privilege of having our wildlife exterminated, our hills grazed bare, our rivers polluted and our sitting rooms flooded.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...P=share_btn_tw

    Thankfully we don't yet have the same super-farm situation as in Britain but we do have very similar agriculture and land-use policy. One piece that Monbiot picks up on is the requirement for farmers to have pristine farmland, i.e. no scrub or features that may disqualify you from payment.

    Similar irrationalities abound. Farm subsidies everywhere are conditional on the land being in “agricultural condition”. This does not mean any actual farming has to take place there – only that it looks like farmland. Any land covered by “permanent ineligible features” is disqualified. What does this mean? Wildlife habitat. If farmers don’t keep the hills bare, they don’t get their money. Scrub, regenerating woodland, forested gullies, ponds and other features that harbour wildlife and hold back water must be cleared. European rules insist that we pay farmers to help flood our homes.

    The British government wants to deregulate dredging and channel clearance, to allow farmers to shift water off their land more quickly. It was instrumental in destroying the proposed European soil framework directive, which would have reduced flooding by preventing the erosion and compaction of the soil.
    Building higher walls will not, by itself, protect our towns. We need flood prevention as well as flood defence. This means woodland and functioning bogs on the hills. It means dead wood and gravel banks and other such obstructions in the upper reaches of the streams (beavers will do such work for nothing). It means pulling down embankments to reconnect rivers to their floodplains, flooding fields instead of towns. It means allowing rivers to meander and braid. It means creating buffer zones around their banks: places where trees, shrubs, reeds and long grass are allowed to grow, providing what engineers call hydraulic roughness. It means the opposite of the orgy of self-destruction that decades of government and European policy have encouraged: grazing, mowing, burning, draining, canalisation and dredging.

    Natural flood management of this kind does not guarantee that urban floods will never happen. But its absence exacerbates them. Yes, Britain has been hit by massive storms and record rainfall. But it has also been hit by incompetence, ignorance and concessions to favoured interests. This, at least, we can change.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...P=share_btn_tw

    This message also coming from other parts of the British media

    What tends to be forgotten is that we need parallel changes to our river catchments. Change to land management is needed to slow the flows and to reduce or spread the flood peak. This involves retaining water for longer in our uplands, on our slopes and floodplains, and requires more wetlands, trees, and less efficient run off.

    In addition, there needs to be a serious look at the planning process to avoid floodplain development with these greater flood extremes firmly in mind. Changes to building and renovation practices might also help to render properties more resilient to events like this.

    That said, the kind of extreme rainfall experienced this winter will always inundate floodplains. Hopefully the events of December 2015 will act as a catalyst for change that results in better landscapes for our environment and more connected approaches to flood risk management – not just bigger flood defences.
    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/those-calli...ooding-1535246
    Last edited by Fraxinus; 31-12-2015 at 12:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Great posts, Fraxinus. I had read this piece by Monbiot in the Guardian this week and thought it was a very clear treatment of the issues which you have expressed on this forum. The comments got caught up in the class issues of grouse shooting, but were otherwise .

    "Building higher walls will not, by itself, protect our towns. We need flood prevention as well as flood defence. This means woodland and functioning bogs on the hills. It means dead wood and gravel banks and other such obstructions in the upper reaches of the streams (beavers will do such work for nothing). It means pulling down embankments to reconnect rivers to their floodplains, flooding fields instead of towns. It means allowing rivers to meander and braid. It means creating buffer zones around their banks: places where trees, shrubs, reeds and long grass are allowed to grow, providing what engineers call hydraulic roughness. It means the opposite of the orgy of self-destruction that decades of government and European policy have encouraged: grazing, mowing, burning, draining, canalisation and dredging."


    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...oor-drain-land

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    Default Re: Ignoring Natural Flood Defences: Smart and Green Economy My Arse!

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectabilis View Post
    Great posts, Fraxinus. I had read this piece by Monbiot in the Guardian this week and thought it was a very clear treatment of the issues which you have expressed on this forum. The comments got caught up in the class issues of grouse shooting, but were otherwise . "Building higher walls will not, by itself, protect our towns. We need flood prevention as well as flood defence. This means woodland and functioning bogs on the hills. It means dead wood and gravel banks and other such obstructions in the upper reaches of the streams (beavers will do such work for nothing). It means pulling down embankments to reconnect rivers to their floodplains, flooding fields instead of towns. It means allowing rivers to meander and braid. It means creating buffer zones around their banks: places where trees, shrubs, reeds and long grass are allowed to grow, providing what engineers call hydraulic roughness. It means the opposite of the orgy of self-destruction that decades of government and European policy have encouraged: grazing, mowing, burning, draining, canalisation and dredging."http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...oor-drain-land
    Interesting thread. People are quick to look at weather as a cause of flooding , and forget about land use.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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