YP Letters: As the waters recede, we must make dredging a priority

Kirkstall Road, Leeds, at the height of the floods.
Kirkstall Road, Leeds, at the height of the floods.
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HOPEFULLY the floods have peaked. The politicians and councillors have hastily presented themselves in wellingtons, in the water in front of the cameras.

As with the poor state of the railways, roads and now rivers, billions are supposedly on offer for flagship schemes.

It is a slap in the face 
for Leeds to be refused £180m for flood defences, and now to be offered £40m, when £2.3bn is allegedly available for the whole country.

It has been stated that EU policy is to allow rivers to manage themselves and no EU money will be available for dredging. To compound this, any material dredged would be classified as waste and have to be removed to a waste disposal site.

In Anne McIntosh’s article (The Yorkshire Post, January 11), she is quoting a report from the Association of Drainage Authorities that recommends that farmers be allowed to dredge and maintain watercourses in agreement with the Environment Agency.

Out in the countryside, the landowner’s property extends to the middle of the watercourse or all the watercourse if his land is on both sides.

However it is unjust to consider the owner to be responsible for silt and debris washed down from upstream.

Now it seems unclear who actually paid for dredging in the past – farmers paid a levy to their local drainage boards for drainage of their own land.

With the photo of the floods at Malton, it is obvious that the watercourse is severely choked by sediment and mature trees presumably at this point the riverbed is owned by the local council.

Drainage is the movement of water away from property or land, and dredging the main watercourses must have priority.

From: The Rt Rev Dr John Thomson, Bishop of Selby.

I WOULD like to thank all those who helped with the clean-up of St Mary’s Tadcaster following its flooding on Boxing Day. The community’s care for their parish church was deeply moving and I was also able to witness local community spirit on a visit around the town with Richard Sweeting, chairman of Selby District Council.

That Canon Sue 
Sheriff was able to lead a 
candle light service of prayer 
for the town in the church building on the first Sunday 
of the new year was tribute 
to all who had given time 
and energy to the clean-up. Thank you.