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Reduce Flooding by Managing Land, Not Rivers

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Reduce Flooding by Managing Land, Not Rivers

The Angling Trust is calling on government to focus on land management practices rather than dredging and flood defences.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Angling Trust


The Angling Trust is following up the publication of a major report on dredging by the Chartered Institution for Water and Environmental Management  this week, reported HERE on FM, by calling on the government to focus on land management, rather than dredging rivers and building yet more flood defences. 


Research clearly shows that changes in land use reduce run-off and increase infiltration, which reduces the height of flood peaks, and reduces the amount of sediment washing into rivers. 


One recent study by the highly respected Centre for Ecology and Hydrology demonstrates that that planting forests can increase the rate that water soaks into the ground by more than 1000%.  Another study by Newcastle University found that construction of low cost, artificial ponds could capture so much water in a catchment in the North East that the flood peak in a town downstream could be reduced by 30%.


These techniques are much more effective, cheaper and more sustainable than dredging and flood defences. What’s more, they allow water to fill up aquifers which keep rivers flowing during the summer months and have numerous environmental benefits because they reduce the quantity of silt, pesticides, slurry, fertilisers and urban pollution being washed into rivers and at the same time create valuable wildlife habitats. 


Calls for dredging have come from the farming lobby, but a 2009 Defra report in support of its Soil Strategy for England found that agriculture is responsible for 75% of the sediment in rivers. A Countryside Council for Wales report in 2009 found that 14 tonnes of sediment a year per hectare were being washed off an agricultural catchment in Wales, leading to a quadrupling in the rate that sediment is being deposited in Llangorse lake since the 1970s. 


An Environment Agency report in 2010 found that large scale changes in agricultural land management, especially in the uplands have the potential to decrease river flows in the River Calder by 25%. Tackling run-off from farmland would therefore not only reduce flooding, but it would reduce the amount of silt getting into rivers in the first place.


As long ago as 2006, several environmental and angling organisations drew up a Blueprint for Water setting out a wide range of actions that government should take to take an integrated approach to sustainable water management.  In spite of repeated reminders over the past 8 years, which have included severe droughts and highly damaging floods, little action has been taken.  We hope that the current floods will finally get the government to implement the Blueprint which included measures to reduce the speed and quantity of water running off agricultural land and urban areas. 


Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said:

“For too many years farmers have been encouraged to focus on production at the expense of their own soils. Crops like potatoes and maize can have disastrous consequences when grown in the wrong place, because they lead to rapid run-off of water and soil.

In towns, far too many developments are being built without sustainable urban drainage systems in them.  As a result, people’s homes and businesses are being flooded and our rivers are being polluted with torrents of sediment and other pollutants. 

Widespread dredging of rivers would have made little or no difference to the impact of this year’s floods, but integrated catchment management might well have saved thousands of people from a heap of misery.  We need to deal with the causes of flooding, rather than the effects.”

 







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Comments (14 posted):

The bad one on 18/02/2014 16:23:17
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I welcome and applaud the ATr for saying this, but what they are saying is not new. Professor in Physical Geography @ Newcastle on Tyne University Malcom Newson was saying all of this and more in his book Land, Water and Development (River Basin Systems and their sustainable Management) back in 1992. That's 22 years ago! Much of his work and thoughts were encompassed in the reports the EA and others, including ATr used and are using now. Perhaps the ATr should send copies of it to the PM and Sec of State the useless Patterson? ---------- Post added at 16:23 ---------- Previous post was at 16:01 ---------- The preface opens with this quote from a local, "It stands to reason, we've only had these quick, high floods since the foresters ploughed through those hill up there!" It needs no more explanation than that! It really is that simple and supports full what Monbiot has being saying about reforesting the uplands.
tiinker on 18/02/2014 18:38:19
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The trouble is if the man was not listened to twenty years ago who is going to take notice today. If it does not suit governments intentions they will poo poo it or just ignore it. with an election around the corner they will go for the quick fix, dredging even though every drainage expert in the country is telling them that it is not the answer.
the blanker on 18/02/2014 18:57:01
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The trouble is if the man was not listened to twenty years ago who is going to take notice today. If it does not suit governments intentions they will poo poo it or just ignore it. with an election around the corner they will go for the quick fix, dredging even though every drainage expert in the country is telling them that it is not the answer. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Optimism and giving credit where it is due is as rare as hens teeth on this forum at times. Have you changed your mind since you posted this after 2 posts saying virtually the same thing?
tiinker on 18/02/2014 21:42:51
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-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Optimism and giving credit where it is due is as rare as hens teeth on this forum at times. Have you changed your mind since you posted this after 2 posts saying virtually the same thing? Have you no mind of your own. Are you optimistic where politician are concerned and do you have to follow me like a pet poodle.
chav professor on 18/02/2014 23:29:45
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I had good reason to write an email this week on this very topic: Dear Sir Madam, I just wanted to applaud the work that took place on Flood plain meadow behind Rushbrooks Mill in Bramford. The system of wetlands and clearance of an old river course lower down stream has opened up prime habitat for wetland birds. I believe this work was in part carried out on Lord Blakenham’s land. He is a gentleman I have had the pleasure of meeting several times…. Mostly when I have a rod in hand. With the obvious issues of flooding and decades of inappropriate development on flood plains - the cost to the environment and economy is clear to see. It is a fear that knee jerk reactions such as those proposed in government include the most damaging of all - dredging rivers. This is a common observation and is not backed up with scientific data, but I thought it worthy of note that flooding in the Gipping valley area seems to be significantly less apparent than I remember prior to this work taking place… In deed the river seems to run off far faster after the wetland has been implemented. Its seems such a shame that a damaging procedure such as dredging could be reinstated - even in the light of very clear scientific data that it is ineffectual. Which is why the Environmental Agency stopped the practice in the first place. Its a shame that this decision has been viewed as ‘doing nothing to help’. Have there been any studies into whether improving flood plains with projects such as instating reeded wetlands reduces the impact on flooding? I am well aware of the cost involved in reversing the damage caused by decades of dredging as I have friends involved in the Norfolk Angling Conservation Association (NACA). I have grown up on the Gipping river and feel a sense of guardianship over this terrific little river and the wonderful creatures that inhabit this environment… I think its a good little model.. people keeping an eye out for their ‘local patch’. It just pays to keep an eye on things as I am aware that there have been calls for the River Gipping to be desilted (dredged) by less well informed residents in the area. Its great to see environments improved as opposed to being degraded! Keep up the good work…. As I see it, the benefits are wide reaching. Kind regards Christian Barker ....... Look after your little patches fellas!
geoffmaynard on 19/02/2014 12:43:59
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Have you no mind of your own. Are you optimistic where politician are concerned and do you have to follow me like a pet poodle. If you two teamed up it would be like the two old geezers heckling in the muppet show :)
the blanker on 19/02/2014 14:15:58
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Have you no mind of your own. Are you optimistic where politician are concerned and do you have to follow me like a pet poodle. In one post you criticise other for having no faith in politicians and then you post criticising politicians, MAKE YOUR MIND UP, it shouldn't be difficult or take long. As you can see from my avatar I ONLY like Bull Terriers, you are not one, more like a snappy little lap dog used to getting its own way. In future TRY to come up with something I haven't used before.
Mr Cholmondeley-Corker (PaSC) on 19/02/2014 15:32:42
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Well, the government made a bad decision 20 years ago when it decided not to invest in UK giant sponge farms: Giant farms growing giant sponges. Things would be so much different down south now if they had. If we had a shed load of giant sponges available then at the earliest signs of a flood the giant sponges could be deployed to soak up all the water. Sadly, no one ever saw the need, but how different things could have been.
bennygesserit on 19/02/2014 16:47:25
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Well, the government made a bad decision 20 years ago when it decided not to invest in UK giant sponge farms: Giant farms growing giant sponges. Things would be so much different down south now if they had. If we had a shed load of giant sponges available then at the earliest signs of a flood the giant sponges could be deployed to soak up all the water. Sadly, no one ever saw the need, but how different things could have been. Wasn't that plan full of holes ?
tiinker on 19/02/2014 17:04:59
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If you two teamed up it would be like the two old geezers heckling in the muppet show :) If we teamed up it would be a miracle.:D ---------- Post added at 10:04 ---------- Previous post was at 09:59 ---------- In one post you criticise other for having no faith in politicians and then you post criticising politicians, MAKE YOUR MIND UP, it shouldn't be difficult or take long. As you can see from my avatar I ONLY like Bull Terriers, you are not one, more like a snappy little lap dog used to getting its own way. In future TRY to come up with something I haven't used before.[ It is very hard to be original with you it is a very narrow spectrum.
the blanker on 19/02/2014 19:45:22
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If we teamed up it would be a miracle.:D ---------- Post added at 10:04 ---------- Previous post was at 09:59 ---------- In one post you criticise other for having no faith in politicians and then you post criticising politicians, MAKE YOUR MIND UP, it shouldn't be difficult or take long. As you can see from my avatar I ONLY like Bull Terriers, you are not one, more like a snappy little lap dog used to getting its own way. In future TRY to come up with something I haven't used before.[ It is very hard to be original with you it is a very narrow spectrum. That's about as mixed up as I have ever seen, ,mmmmmmmmmmmm
daji on 19/02/2014 22:06:37
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If you two teamed up it would be like the two old geezers heckling in the muppet show :) Hahahahha!! totally agree with this. I like to think that if you two opinionated old buggers fished the same venues you would actually be great friends. :D
the blanker on 20/02/2014 08:53:00
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Hahahahha!! totally agree with this. I like to think that if you two opinionated old buggers fished the same venues you would actually be great friends. :D Sorry you are totally wrong, he wouldn't be able to fish where I fish, he's caught b****r all anyway.
FishingMagic on 20/02/2014 08:58:00
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If you cannot post comments with direct reference to the topic then please either refrain from posting or use the members' board or the PM system. Thank you.


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