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Carpy News
Dredging not the panacea for river flooding
The Angling Trust is warning politicians not to repeat the mistakes of the
past in their rush to make political
capital out of the government’s
response to the recent floods. Calls
are growing to ignore the science and
recommence wholesale river dredging as a quick fix. In fact, widespread
dredging could make flooding in
some communities worse in future –
not better – according to the report
published by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental
Management (CIWEM) at the time of
the severe flooding in 2014.
Far from advocating dredging as a
panacea, the CIWEM report –
endorsed by the Blueprint for Water
coalition of environmental NGOs,
which includes the Angling Trust, and
backed by a range of organisations –
suggests solely relying on dredging
can even make some downstream
communities more vulnerable to the
risk of flooding by moving water more
quickly down the river catchments.
Stuart Singleton-White, Head of
Campaigns at the Angling Trust said:
“The thoughts of the
A n g l i n g Tr u s t a n d
anglers throughout the
country are with those
who have been so
badly affected by the
flooding around the
River Don in South
Yorkshire and the River
Derwent in Derbyshire.
The impacts of flooding
can be devastating, not
only in the financial
costs for businesses
and farmers in the
flooded areas, but for the many people
who have been forced to leave their
homes or have seen their home inundated with water. It is a sad fact that
with climate change comes a change
in the rate and distribution of rainfall.
More intense periods of rain will be
more frequent and often last longer.
Flooding of the type we are seeing
today, and saw in 2007 and 2014, are
no longer a once in a 100-year event.
It is obvious to anyone who works in,
or has an interest in, water management policy in England, that the system is broken. It needs major reform
and significant investment. It needs
to embrace not only issues of flood
management, but where and how
development is taking place, the
design of development that has to be
built in high risk areas and land management reform to
ensure that practices
do not contribute to
f l o o d i n g, b u t r a t h e r
mitigate flooding.”
The CIWEM report,
Floods and Dredging –
a reality check, concluded: “…that dredging can play an important role in flood risk
management in some
cases, but is not a standalone solution. It
should be considered
in the context of a range of tools and
the origins of different sources of
flood water, and comes with significant risks that must be understood at
a local and catchment scale.”
With the new Agriculture Bill, along
with a new Environment Bill,
expected in the next parliament, this
is an opportunity to take a radically
different approach to our management of water in the context of the
climate and biodiversity crisis.
Through the proposed Environmental
Land Management scheme (ELMs),
farmers should be paid to manage
their land to help to store water and
protect communities.
Martin Salter, Head of Policy at the
Angling Trust and a contributor to the
2014 report added: “In the inevitable
review of these most recent floods,
the Angling Trust is calling on the
government, the Environment
Agency and local authorities to follow
the science and look at the evidence.
Flood management has to start from
looking at the whole catchment. Solutions need to include a focus on the
upper reaches of a river, and with
using natural flood management
measures such as tree planting,
changes to land management and the
creation of storage areas to hold the
water in the environment and on the
land. This, coupled with the creation
of new flood bypass channels and
barriers, brings a range of environmental and economic benefits. It
would help protect and restore
wildlife, and it can provide increased
protection for vulnerable communities. Our rivers are dynamic, living
ecosystems. We do not want to see
them turned into featureless drains
and deep channels whose only purpose is to move water as quickly as
possible to the sea.” n

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