Yorkshire flooding and Environment Agency’s long record of failure – Yorkshire Post Letters

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From: Tony Milroy, Hebden Bridge.

AS last week’s floods drain away, no doubt the election caravan will too, taking with it the politicians and media cameras. A sea of mud is much drabber and messier than the dramatic visuals of the nearly-submerged village of Fishlake and the despairing words of its nearly-overwhelmed residents.

A photograph by James Hardisty of The Yorkshire Post showing Boris Johnson with flooding victims in Doncaster.

A photograph by James Hardisty of The Yorkshire Post showing Boris Johnson with flooding victims in Doncaster.

As a Yorkshireman, I have long admired The Yorkshire Post for its honest journalism and the robust balance it strives to achieve in its coverage of local, regional and national issues.

Therefore, because of the timing right in the midst of an election, when our county has, once again, taken the brunt of the damage from the latest major floods, this major, national issue surely demands a particularly in-depth, objectively critical analysis of the Environment Agency’s lamentable flood management performance since the major Pitt report of 2005.

Its continuing failure to anticipate, prevent or reduce widespread flood damage has not only particularly affected my own locality in the West Riding’s Calder Valley in recent years but currently severely impacts on other, more southerly parts of our county and well beyond.

Time and time again, the eye-witness, post-flood observations repeatedly expressed by local, practical farmers and rural, district and parish-based agencies and, indeed the wider public, describe the increasing frequency, speed and severity of flash-flooding. They also repeatedly vent their frustration at the build-up of river sediment and the refusal of the EA to tackle this problem or even place a value on local know how and experience.

Residents look on as soldiers come to the aid of flood-stricken homes in Doncaster.

Residents look on as soldiers come to the aid of flood-stricken homes in Doncaster.

From: Brian Johnston, Rigton Drive, Burmantofts, Leeds.

IT used to be a simple fact in geography at school that ‘‘rivers will flood in winter’’ and ‘‘all rivers have natural flood plains down stream’’ to reduce the surge in flood conditions.

Today, history is thrown out of the window, and so we have speculative house building on the grand scale on river flood plains, and to hell with the consequences – flood defences or not.

The tragedy on the Don, east of Doncaster, is on a flat landscape, prone to flooding around Goole, criss-crossed with man made waterways, constructed by Dutch drainage engineers in the 17th century, and aptly named ‘‘New Holland’’.

There is still anger that the Environment Agency and others did not do enough to lessen the impact of this month's floods in South Yorkshire.

There is still anger that the Environment Agency and others did not do enough to lessen the impact of this month's floods in South Yorkshire.

Another major factor with widespread flooding is that the dredging of waterways has been completely abandoned by the Environment Agency, thus raising a river bed, reducing the effect of current flood defences.

Climate change is here. Rivers in flood will occur even more and – add to that – the efficient draining of the land, combined now in the current situation, with a month’s rain in one day, dumped into already swollen rivers. What do you expect? You can’t buck nature.

From: PD Walker, Pool-in-Wharfedale.

YOUR front page (The Yorkshire Post, November 14) featured a photograph by James Hardisty which was so moving it deserved the phrase “a picture is worth more that a thousand words”.

Boris Johnson received a rough reception from local residents over his delayed response to the South Yorkshire floods.

Boris Johnson received a rough reception from local residents over his delayed response to the South Yorkshire floods.

It depicts a meeting between the Prime Minister, the flood victims and the emergency service staff in a flooded Yorkshire village.

On every face is etched sorrow, anger, despair and dejection as the Prime Minister offers the people who have lost everything a miserable £500. An ashen-faced PM, wishing he had never ventured into the flood-stricken area, faces the wrath of north country people long forgotten in his world. This brilliant piece of photo-journalism sums up this whole tragic year of insecurity and pathos.

It is UK 2019. A very memorable photograph.

From: PL Taylor, Milner Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield.

AS usual, Jeremy Corbyn is taking a political advantage of a disaster – flooding. The Labour leader does not seem to have any political morals or standards of ethics. Should Labour come to power, perhaps we should all emigrate.

Spend cash on
rail in North

From: Paul Emsley, Newton Way, Hellifield, Settle.

SO, we have another London-serving, major rail project which is running late, over budget and being only of benefit to the South of England.

Remember the project costs that were associated with Thameslink 2000/2010 under John Prescott; Crossrail under John Prescott/Lord Adonis/
Chris Grayling; and now HS2 (£88bn and rising) under 
Chris Grayling/Grant Shapps/et al.

It would be really interesting to hear what Transport for the North (TfN) thinks about this ‘‘white elephant’’.

What could they do, north of Birmingham, to improve travel reliability, passenger comfort and route capacity?

Why doesn’t the next Government (whomsoever it may be) spend a quarter of the HS2 budget on improving the east-west railway infrastructure between Birmingham and Leeds/Liverpool?

If people want to get to Birmingham from London 20 minutes faster than they can today, then ask Chiltern 
Railways to four track their existing route into Snowhill Station – or hold a video conference!

Vital question of social care

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

GLAD to see The Yorkshire Post (November 16 and 20) raising the subject of social care.

All of us must have noticed that none of the political parties have adequately addressed this question in any of their speeches or manifestos.

It feels like it is the elephant in this election that all parties want to avoid confronting – at their peril, considering an ageing population.