AS a ‘soft southerner’ – but, with very fond memories of childhood days spent in the West Riding (my favourite uncle was the ‘Station Master’ at Bradford Railway Station and the surrounding areas) and hopes of moving to live in Yorkshire next year – I have been feeling great sadness at the terrible problems caused by the current flooding situation.
Flooding is a national catastrophe; one which has affected various areas of the entire country for far too many decades and one which only has the undeniable potential to increase in its potency as the damaging effects of global warming increase. Flood barriers can bring with them the potential to channel troubled waters away from one existing crisis point only to create another catastrophe and more undeserving victims up or downstream.
Because this problem brings with it the probability to repeat itself in the same geographical areas year after year, most insurers will no longer offer cover against the risks associated with such flooding.
The immediate costs for residents – financial, practical and emotional – are evident; but, added to this, for most home-owners, the value of their property evaporates with the ebbing waters. They will feel eternally vulnerable. What was once a loving family sanctuary and a financial asset has now become a worrisome and life-sapping millstone.
My potential remedy, for those whose problems could be solved by its implementation, may seem relatively costly in the initial stages and will need funding from the Exchequer. But, it has the potential to alleviate the flooding problems for at least several generations and, in the process, to add value and peace of mind to affected home-owners able to benefit from this very basic technological remedy.
Sacrifice the ground floor of affected homes and substitute the space lost by building another storey above the existing top floor of the building. New methods of construction, including factory built timber framed walls, plus other new lightweight materials, may well obviate the need for improvements to existing house foundations; however, modern technology has ensured that even this is a readily achievable strategy. I do realise that is not necessarily the most appropriate solution for everyone; nevertheless, I believe that we should be ‘raising the roof’ for all those whose situation would directly benefit from its application.