The news over Christmas has been full of the wet weather conditions wreaking havoc in the North of England and along the Scottish Borders. Whilst the media is full of talk of the cause being down to ‘climate change’ the reality is somewhat different as laid out here by Philip Walling in an article reproduced from The Newcastle Chronicle –
Amid all the devastation and recrimination over the floods in Cumbria hardly anybody mentions one factor that may not be the sole cause, but certainly hasn’t helped.
That is the almost complete cessation of dredging of our rivers since we were required to accept the European Water Framework Directive (EWF) into UK law in 2000.
Yet until then, for all of recorded history, it almost went without saying that a watercourse needed to be big enough to take any water that flowed into it, otherwise it would overflow and inundate the surrounding land and houses.
Every civilisation has known that, except apparently ours. It is just common sense. City authorities and, before them, manors and towns and villages, organised themselves to make sure their watercourses were cleansed, deepened and sometimes embanked to hold whatever water they had to carry away.