Water experts are calling on ministers to show greater leadership on flooding.
They say the government is failing to promote back-to-nature schemes which protect lowland homes by deliberately creating floods in the hills. The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) say upland schemes to slow river flow cost a fraction of conventional flood walls – and should be spread round the UK. Ministers back the principle but say the details need to be worked out.
The idea of creating floods upstream to prevent floods downstream was a key message from the Pitt Review into the 2007 floods. A handful of pilot projects have pioneered cheap small-scale measures like felling trees into streams to slow down the flow, and building earth banks to catch run-off water and allow it to soak away. One low-tech scheme in the hills above Belford in Northumberland cost about £300,000. It was put in place after a study suggested the cost of conventional flood defences would cost £4m. But progress nationally has been slow, with funding a major problem.
Comment Sounds like an excellent idea to cut flooding, enhance the countryside and cost less than conventional schemes. All of this ties in quite nicely with George Monbiot’s blog!
And reported here on 3rd November.
It does not of course obviate the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions!