Extreme weather and rising sea levels with resulting flooding are becoming a yearly occurrence across the United Kingdom but what is being done to prevent it Simeon Disley, partner at Roythornes Solicitors and head of the firm’s water and flood management team, explains that proactive steps must be taken.
To have your home or farm flooded can be soul destroying and financially disastrous. Sadly, the residents of Wainfleet and Fishlake have joined those of Boston, the Somerset Levels and others in having this dreadful experience.
These recent events together with the predictions for climate change suggest we can expect more extreme weather and rising sea levels to result in flooding.
Next month we should see a new government take shape and it should reassess the arrangements for the country’s flood defence management. The Environment Agency should be tasked with focusing its experience and skills on the protection of towns and cities. Responsibility for rural areas should be passed to further empowered Internal Drainage Boards and other local bodies who should be allowed the resources they need to protect those areas in partnership with the landowners and farmers.
Drainage rates should apply to all rural land and Drainage Boards should be allowed to increase their rates to cover the costs they will incur in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. Environmental protection regulations should also be reviewed and reassessed to strike the right balance between protecting the environment and those who live in it.
Common sense must prevail. Rivers and drains should be dredged and maintained to enable them to cope with the volume of water in extreme conditions and sea defences should be improved against the predicted rise in sea levels.
The next government must deliver the changes that are required to protect the country’s homes and businesses.