Thursday, May 29, 2014
Victoria's Green Matters - 29th May 2014
Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury :
It seems that it all comes down to money. Our ‘greenest government ever’ and its Secretary for the Environment, climate change denier Owen Patterson, cut the annual flood defence budget by 25% when they came into office in 2010. This is in direct contrast to the course of action of the Dutch government with its policy of ‘Room for the River’ projects across the Netherlands which have cost £1.9bn and are set to finish in 2015. Similar programmes have also gone ahead in Germany and China.
These projects have been ongoing for ten years and are re-shaping the landscape with the objective of living with water instead of continuing to battle against it. The Netherlands is a land of waterways and a quarter of it is below sea level: England and Wales has 50% more land below sea level and we continue to ‘make do and mend’ by repairing flood defences after the event. The defences on the Somerset Levels have now been repaired with £270m of emergency funding from the government. There is a striking contrast between the short termism of the UK government and the long term strategy adopted by the Dutch.
To counteract the effect of years of accepted wisdom that rivers need to be straightened to encourage water to flow away, meanders have been restored in Somerset to slow down river flow and to store water in times of heavy and enduring rain. This has also been done, on a smaller scale, in Stockton-on-Tees and Oxfordshire. Victoria Nicholls. Transition Deal