Sounds sensible

Dutch engineers could be brought in to dredge the Somerset Levels and sort out flooding which has been blamed on the Environment Agency’s lack of action.

After all, it was Dutch engineers who drained the Levels in the first place.

30 thoughts on “Sounds sensible”

  1. Well it will need foreigners to sort it out as it seems the EA sold the dredging kit for scrap.

    The EA wanted to protect the countryside and the animals, except that they’ve caused the usual problem that the state generates – unintended consequences. So the countryside has been destroyed and the animals that the EA protected by not dredging have all drowned. The usual hubris of environmental campaigners thinking they know better than the centuries of experience of the people who really managed the land.

  2. Christopher Booker gave a very good run down on this matter in the Daily Mail.

    The Dutch Engineers also helped to drain the Wash. At one stage there were more windmills, the old picturesque type, not the modern bird choppers, in England than in the low-countries of the Netherlands.

    The Environmental Agency stopped dredging in Somerset 20 years ago. And now they have introduced another load of bollocks regulations whereby you have to obtain a toxic waste disposal permit to drop the sludge from the river beds on the river banks.

    The Greenies hate people, get that through your head, and everything they do will become much easier to understand.

    Then there is nothing a Carbon Tax won’t fix.

  3. Except that the cross-sectional area of the river channel compared with the cross-sectional area of the floodplain is negligible. So dredging doesn’t really do anything to prevent flooding.

  4. @ S
    Yes it does because it permits water to flow downstream faster. Less useful if you are below sea level but wherever the river is flowing down to the sea using gravity, silting up will reduce the flow and increase the risk and/or severity of flooding.

  5. John77
    Yeah, dredging increases channel capacity, but only by a small amount. The volume of water on a flood plain during a flood is orders of magnitude higher than the volume within the channel. The slight increase in channel capacity from dredging is insignificant, and not enough to contain flood flows in a moderate-sized event.

  6. To add to John77:
    If my understanding of fluid dynamics is correct, the effect of dredging in greater than linear. The bottom turbulence serves to restrict flow is constant, whatever the depth. So the decrease in depth, due to failure to dredge, works on the maximum flow portion of the flow rather than the whole flow.

  7. Being naive here, but dredged channels or not, if there were somewhere for the water to flow to, wouldn’t it flow there regardless? Where does the water normally go?

  8. What evidence Dutch engineers drained Somerset Levels?
    Vermuyden bought land there but did he do one of his schemes(which were unsuccessful in the Fens until steam engines saved them from the effects of peat shrinkage dropping the reclaimed land below the river levels)?Most of the reclaimed land has now blown away, back to Holland..

  9. Just look at what they do in NL – they dredge religiously. Plus, they clear the weed every year too, even in the little “slootjes”.

    The greenies hate it of course, so they had to compromise & leave some junk at the edges. The ducklings have got to hatch out somewhere before being eaten by the herons.

  10. The greenshirts, and their lackeys at the EA, always wanted the transformation of this region into an uninhabitable swamp. So the current devastation isn’t a bug, it’s a feature, a policy outcome.

    There is an article about it in Friday’s Times, page 9. It quotes a spokesman for one wildlife group advocating kicking out the local folk and establishing the area as the Everglades of England, though he dare not say that out loud when those locals are in earshot.

    My plea to the farmers of the British mainland is this. Please stop spreading pig slurry on your fields with those big tanker-sprayers. Spray it on the greenshirts instead. Should be fairly easy to find out where they live, break a hole in their front window, and point the spray nozzles directly into their lounge.

  11. S said: “The slight increase in channel capacity from dredging is insignificant, and not enough to contain flood flows in a moderate-sized event.”

    Could it help in that if the drainage works as it should the ground will only be temporarily saturated by a downpour rather than the water sit there going nowhere?

  12. I am still being naive, but it seems to me that standing water like this can only mean the water table is above ground level, so I remain mystified as to where we’re expecting it to run off to.

  13. @IB
    Water courses in Fenland are often well above field level, because the fields are shrinking. Vermuyden’s schemes also flooded regularly till they got steam pumps,now diesel and, I suppose, electric.Track along that frightening road from Acle to Great Yarmouth and ,should you see any boats, they will be above you.In Somerset they can drain by gravity alone when tides are low,But you are right: there is nowhere for the water to drain to naturally in most places on the Levels.
    Greenshirts were an inter-war organisation dedicated to monetary reform in ways which are still relevant.

  14. @ S
    The increase in channel capacity should be compared to the reduced, post-silting channel capacity. I some cases it can double or treble capacity. It permits a flow and should *not* be compared to the volume except when calculating the flow rate needed to drain that volume over the *month* that the area has been subjected to exceptional rains. It might not be enough for the Somerset levels but most places where they’ve pictures of flooded streets are way above sea level with undredged rivers that didn’t need to flood.

  15. @john77
    Dredging certainly increases channel capacity (in the short term), but I can think of few scenarios in which it’d double or treble it (fwiw: dredging increases channel cross-section. But silt deposition occurs in regions of low flow. Therefore clearing silt can only allow a small amount of extra flow).

    But for sake of argument, lets say it did treble capacity. My point is that, for large flows – large enough to flood surrounding land to significant depth to cause a problem to roads/property etc – dredging does not make a significant difference. If you consider a cross section across the flood plain, as a proportion of the area the silted region at the bottom of the channel is very small. If the silt were cleared, there would be a small flow through that region in comparison to the rest of the channel. Lets be generous and say the levels drop by an inch; that doesn’t solve the problem of a 3 foot flood depth.

    From what I understand, part of the problem (not in times of flood) is that the drainage doesn’t work as it should… In times of flood though, there’s a lot of water and it has to go somewhere. Unless you build something to stop it, the only place it can go is in the floodplain.

    Nope, not being naive at all.

  16. TG, I have no idea what that would save. To spellout in sectarian terms, is dredging to be be paid for by farmer hicks in Somerset who are massive EU subsidy junkies, or by the rest of us?

  17. @Luke: actually all land owners in areas subject to mass drainage schemes such as the Levels, or the Norfolk Broads, already pay levies to their local Drainage Boards. Who used to do the work themselves (and still do in some areas, such as the Broads, which haven’t flooded strangely enough) but now just pass the money on the the EA, who are ‘supposed’ to do the work instead. Which as we all know they haven’t, just paid for more employees, 11K of them to be precise, all faffing around doing sweet FA on fat salaries.

    The solution is simple – get the EA out of the loop, fire at least half the EA staff (no one would notice the difference) and let the locals run their own drainage schemes, for their own benefit, instead of some centrally imposed covert anti-humanity scheme to flood the area and return it to some ancient wildlife nirvana.

  18. All those worrying about “what will it cost” to dredge might like to note someone(probably a mix of the taxpayer and insurers) paid out about half as much as dredging will cost in flood claims in the area last winter, when flooding wasn’t nearly as bad.
    Apparently the rivers are only at about 40% of their dredged capacity – so I would expect dredging to have a significant effect on the extent of flooding.

  19. Of course the elephant in this room is George Monbiot who has suggested the remedy is slowing down the flow upstream by rebendifying the rivers and ,his magnificent obsession, “rewilding” the uplands by getting rid of sheep and having the hills covered by woodland through which ramblers and God knows what animals might roam.Gets my vote.
    He does not go so far but I would be tempted to suggest that the processes that emptied the Brit countryside of people (England&Wales down to 23% rural pop in 1901 ; France 59% in 1901;31% in 1982) be reversed gradually.We have put all our eggs in the industrialisation basket and
    now Chinese etc cheap industrial labour has put paid to out little workshop of the world game.Time to face up to facts.

  20. Apart from the utterly despicable inhumanity inherent in DBC Reed’s post (which I assume given his other utterances is for real and not a joke), based as it is on some horrendous amalgam of the ideas of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, it nonetheless contains a large logical flaw to match its moral failings – if the countryside is to be returned to some pristine environmental Eden, where exactly are the dispossessed urbanites to dwell?

    One can only assume in mass graves with a 9mm hole in the base of their skulls.

  21. Where I live modern manufacturing industry like Timken and Avon has fucked off to Poland. What’s left is quality leatherworking and brewing plus a lot of distribution centres (warehouses) which rely on main roads like the old coaching inns etc on Watling Street.There is a bit of high-end engineering like Cosworth but that relies on servicing Silverstone, the way local horse breeders once bred classic winners for Newmarket. Industrial evolution is already going backwards here.Most of commerce generally relies on land values to make any money (land price inflation plus asset stripping) : the landed interest rides again. I suppose Pol Pot sympathisers have organised all this ?

  22. DBC, Jim,

    I read that Monbiot thing. Interesting, but I don’t think it’s applicable to Levels/Broads. They’re not (afaik) being flooded by run-off from hill farms. They’re just low. Re-wilding would just mean turning into a marsh.

  23. John Redwood show how of the £1207 million the EPA get only just over £20m goes on maintaining flood defences. About half the total goes on salaries and pensions.

    I note the BBC state totalitarian propagandist is pushing the EPA’s claim that the country cannot afford all the current defences. Naturally the lying BBC are censoring any mention of these real figures. Fortunately every single Beeboid who is not an obscene fascist murdering whore has publicly denounced the BBC for this censorship, but only every one who isn’t – so that would be zero so far.

  24. Well seeing as how the levels were drained originally by digging and maintaining ditches and dredging rivers, it seems to be likely that restoring drains and draining rivers will go a long way to preventing future flooding.

    It may very well be that in periods of exceptional rainfall some areas may flood, but because the land would be less saturated to start with (the problem here is heavy rain on land already saturated by sustained rainfall) the problem would be greatly reduced.

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