Saturday, 15 February 2014

Water, Water Everywhere!

River Lea at Batford, Harpenden, flooding into the leat (courtesy of Natalie Edwards)

It seems never ending. This time last year we were all up to our knees in snow, and I got frostbite trying to back a borrowed transit out of a tight space (you can read all about it here) Now we are all being flooded by endless rain, and although we are not seeing devastation anything like other parts of the country, we are seeing areas of land covered with water that have not been before.

The area above (River Lea flooding into the leat at Batford) is just a hop and a jump from a run down industrial estate that a local developer wants to build on (the same developer that will build on Westfield allotments if planning permission is ever granted, remember this?) Local people, in a laughable ''consultation process'', suggested some of the things they'd like to see if planning permission were granted. A surgery, a chemist, a community meeting point, a post office and a cafe being high on their bucket-list. Bless. Of course the developer has rejected this, because, let's face it, it won't generate enough profit, and instead has put in for offices, flats and a paltry amount of ''affordable housing''.

The Environmental Agency has now designated the whole locality an area of high flooding risk (see pic, they're not wrong). The developer has insisted they will put in mitigation strategies. Which, translated into reality means that at some point, they will go back to the council and say that the cost of the strategies is so high that they won't be able to build the ''affordable'' houses after all. That's how it works. And the Town Council, which seems to be in thrall to its own arrogance as well as to any large developer ... will roll over and let them renege on the agreement. That is also how it works.

And the whole area will continue to flood. But who cares? Money will have been made. No face will have been lost. That's what's important to the Tory mindset, seemingly. I have been sickened by the pictures of terrified farm animals being herded into lorries and driven away on the Somerset levels. More sickening still is the ''blame game'' now being played by the same government ministers who cut the flood defence budget, took money away from the Environment Agency, reduced staffing levels, denied climate change was a real prospect, sold off the dredging equipment, and now are finger pointing like the heartless uncaring offspring of unwed mothers that they are.

It should never be forgotten that this government also relaxed the planning laws in the face of severe pressure from the building lobby, making it easier for ruthless greedy developers to build upon flood plains. And urban green spaces. The one I'm trying to defend has been happily soaking up the rain like nobody's business, so we only suffered some flooding behind my house, but it will contribute considerably to local flooding if/when it is entirely tarmacked over. We look forward with dread to Winters of sandbags and misery.

The climate may change, the Tory mindset at all levels does not.




25 comments:

  1. I've found it heartbreaking watching distraught flood victims (both two legged and four legged), but apart from 'the two princes' helping out with sand bags, what the heck is being done to help everyone?? !!!

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  2. Good post, as always, Carol. Chemist's on stilts? That would work.

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  3. It's awful, Carol. I am so sorry to see, hear and read about all this devastation. It seems that we have had similar amounts of rain here (although it hasn't struck us as being so bad), but we've had no floods - presumably because the Dutch care and don't allow it to happen (read an interesting article Lynn posted about that on FB). Maybe that's why it hasn't seemed so bad. We've had the wind though…pfff… lots of damage from that across the country. Keep courage!

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    1. How anybody can deny climate change (and it's not just here there are weather disasters, is beyond me!) Thanks people!

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  4. Yesterday I watched Cameron address the public assuring them of the Governments intention to provide as much aid as possible to the affected areas. He did this using two fire engines as a backdrop...to subliminally portray the image of a man 'down with the people and their suffering' in a rescue environment, despite the fact he'd provided no such relief himself!! He wore the 'costume' of 'hands on' involvement but it was obvious his outfit was fresh from its packaging, untouched by the misery of others!
    And to complete this ensemble of deceit his top lip was stiffened with such rigidity as to challenge the most aggressive Botox treatment on the market...all in a bid to feign determination and convince the gullible that he gave a damn!...There are other words I'd prefer to use here but I respect your blog and your reader too much!..............I enjoyed this post very much Hedges...but that man and his limp army of sycophants makes me so mad I could arm wrestle a badger!...

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    1. People made homeless by their cruel benefit cuts, people hungry because they can't afford food ...no money to help them! What is the difference? The 'undeserving poor' don't have house and contents insurance etc......

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  5. It feels as if there's a 'let's see who we can blame' thing going on - to distract us from the fact that people's homes have been under water for weeks and they've only just noticed that these might be potential Tory voters!

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    1. Cameron only donned his wellies when the Home counties flooded!!

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  6. It's been such a horrid month of storms, hasn't it. Fortunately we live on high-ish ground so we're not affected but I have family who live on the South coast and they keep telling me how scary it is. Of course, if you look back to earlier times you'll see that houses around the area of the Somerset levels were usually built on stilts. We thought we'd conquered the weather but we were wrong!

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    1. We will never do that!And it is our arrogance that is making this worse!!

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  7. and after the flood come the storms and because the ground is so wet the trees get blown over less water used more flooding....

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  8. It is a cycle evident to all of us with any common sense. Sadly, a lot of those in high office do not seem to possess any.

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  9. you are brilliantly on the money as usual Carol, are you absolutely sure you are not meant to be a politician? We need a ton of people who think like you!

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  10. As a member of the populace most responsible (along with China) for global climate change, I apologize to the world on our behalf. The utter greed of our consumption over the past century stuns me. And on top of the consumption, our denial of the obvious is magnificent. It's easy to blame the pols (and they deserve some blame) when the real culprits are we consumers.

    I know the short term problems, like local flooding, are the point of the sword and must be, but if we're to get any handle at all on the real problem, we must ALL begin to lower our carbon footprint. And unfortunately, I don't see that actually happening, anywhere.

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    1. Hap - sadly, you are correct....but I think we are ALL also responsible. From the Industrial Revolution, this has been encroaching. Your final comment is the most disturbing..because it is true. I fear for the world my granddaughter will inherit...

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  11. Fast forward six months and all we'll hear on the UK news will be DROUGHT ... Great post, as always, and I learned a new four-letter word - leat.

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  12. Articulate and straight to the point! Yes, the misery of those in flooded areas can't be denied, and a country run by those who only crisis manage because they have no long term goals other than profit at the expense of others, will flounder when disaster strikes.But at least there's no bombs falling.
    Between the changes we see in global weather patterns and the awful hubris of what I can only call demoniac leaders, I'm actually very grateful for what good fortune I do enjoy (includes not living on a flood plain). On the other hand, saying things could be worse doesn't always help!
    Great post.

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    1. Thanks Juliet -- you live here, so know the situation. 'Leat' because there was a mil at Batford. Teagan, we have to keep on using the literary cattle prod ..I have had local councillors tweeting me disgruntled every time I post a 'political' blog. They need remind in they are not God. God is God, and although I do not claim to speak for Him, I bet He is Not Happy!

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  13. I live a few miles from the Delaware River, so flooding isn't anything new to me. Luckily our home doesn't get affected, but I've seen devastation for people who live on the river. We had two major floods within a couple years of each other and I felt awful for the people who had just rebuilt only to lose it all again.

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  14. An admirable rant and so impressed with this: I have had local councillors tweeting me disgruntled every time I post a 'political' blog. Keep it up, gal!

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  15. Excellent post, Carol. I'm sorry to see all the devastation, both physical and financial, these flood are causing.

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  16. Excellent post, Carol. Our experience of planning applications down here in the south-west is similar to what you are describing here. We were flooded here last winter and we're most concerned at the lack of joined up thinking on flooding. It's no good looking at how to protect single areas without thinking about the knock-on effects further downstream.

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  17. We have escaped the flood in Scotland but the more I hear about Cameron and his cronies the more I'm swaying to a Yes vote for Scotland to go it alone. His bully boy tactics won't work with the Scottish people. I will mean we will be free from daft rules coming in from Europe too.

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    1. This is exactly what BH says will happen as a result of Osborne's threats..he will just alienate everybody... crazy.

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  18. Alienation for a nation under zero governmental consideration...

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