Floods, climate change, yadda yadda:
The committee on climate change report did not get the attention it deserved, partly because it coincided with an acclaimed return to the Levels by the Prince of Wales, who local people say “saved the day” last winter by shaming the authorities into action. But it shows how we are becoming ever more vulnerable to flooding, even as climate change makes it more likely.
Despite recent increases, spending lags far behind what is needed. Almost three quarters of Britain’s flood defences are not being maintained properly, and almost 500 new ones will not be funded for at least five years.
These are not just effective – protecting an estimated 1.4 million homes during last winter alone – but they are also good value, producing an £8 return on every £1 spent. Even the Treasury agrees that building them would “help drive growth”.
By this spring, the Environment Agency had 800 fewer people working on managing floods than in 2010, despite the crisis, and it is still losing staff. Meanwhile, adds the report, cash-strapped local authorities are “diverting” funding provided for combating inundations to “other council services”.
Completely failing to make the point that the Levels flooding was because the Environment Agency deliberately turned off the pumping stations. Knob end.