YP Letters: Lessons to be learned from region’s floods

Flooding on Kirkstall Road, Leeds.
Flooding on Kirkstall Road, Leeds.
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From: Mr J Riley, Bankside, Shelley, Huddersfield.

MUCH has been said and much has been written about the floods in Northern England, but, unless I’ve missed something, no one has mentioned the damage to the 300-year-old bridge structures caused by heavier and heavier goods vehicles.

Bridges such as Elland and Tadcaster were built in the days of horse traffic and are totally unsuitable for the juggernauts of today.

Our “learned” politicians, in their wisdom, have allowed bigger and bigger articulated vehicles on to our roads to appease the unelected bureaucrats of the European Union, causing untold damage to our roads and bridges.

One has only to cross the Channel to see that continental roads are far superior to ours; in fact around Huddersfield you spend half your time dodging potholes.

The councils spend summer months putting tar and grey grit on the roads but don’t lift manhole covers and drain covers to compensate. Don’t tell me there’s no money. Divert the foreign aid to where it matters and stop financing ‘pie in the sky’ projects in other countries.

From: Martyn L Scargill, Chantry Meadows, Kilham.

THERE is no real “quick-fire” solution, as far too much damage has already been done to the environment, but we must begin somewhere.

Primarily this should involve the planting of many more trees and hedgerows to absorb more water, thereby preventing such rapid run-off towards the water courses.

Along with this, it is also vital that a much more positive move to rid the country once and for all of these environmentally lethal intensive agricultural methods be put into place. They reduce the landscape to nothing more than a featureless chemical arable desert devoid of all wildlife and natural beauty which formerly refreshed the spirit in a frantic world.

Additionally there needs to be much less land covered in Tarmac and concrete, but every Government appears to be hell-bent upon destroying yet more land in this small country, in the shape of dreadful runways, ugly, sprawling “industrial estates”, housing and the like.

Why are the awful old aerodromes of the Second World War not ripped up, for instance? They are a disgraceful and hideous waste of precious land. Trees could then be planted, together with the release of more farmland. This would automatically assist with land drainage.

From: Mr V Platt, Cold Bath Road, Harrogate.

BIG deal or thanks for nothing? It is very generous of the Government and David 
Cameron promising to give
 £40m to the whole of Yorkshire to help with our flood defences and we are supposed to be grateful.

I’m afraid £40m is peanuts, the ignorant population of Britain (lacking information and knowledge) still haven’t grasped what is happening, we give this amount every 17-and-a-half hours to one city in Europe – Brussels.

Have all of you forgotten EU directive “Natura 2000” to 
flood the Somerset levels and 
as Tory Baroness Young, gaily 
put it “attach a limpet mine to all the pumping stations in Somerset” as being the cheapest way to create a wetland nature reserve as required by policy 
six in the EU directive of 2007?

Also forgotten is the EU ‘Habitat Directive’, the EU ‘Water Framework’ and the EU ‘Floods Directive’ which stated “that the protection of people is secondary to the environmental goal of creating new wetlands”.

If you were not aware of the above, you are now. So people of Yorkshire what are you going to do about it? When the in/out EU referendum takes place, vote ‘out’ so that we can once more be free to govern ourselves.

From: Edward Grainger, Botany Way, Nunthorpe, York.

THE worst crime was to allow the real work of preventative dredging and drainage then taken over by an organisation with little or no knowledge of just what had to be done on an annual basis to clear and maintain those various water courses and rivers that nature has provided to ease forward into more major rivers and not ultimately into seas and oceans.

Faced with year upon year flooding of various kinds, we must get back to preventative work during periods of dry weather.

From: Tony Hargreaves, The Coppice, Lindley.

I DON’T doubt that the building of flood defences is going to be helpful. Controlling movement of water by means of dykes certainly worked for the Dutch. But would it not be wise to think in terms of the factors that contribute to our flooding?

One factor is that we are covering more and more ground with concrete, Tarmac, brick and stone. The ground beneath, which hitherto soaked up vast amounts of rainwater, remains fairly dry. The downpour runs off and into groundwater drains that deliver it, at speed, to streams and rivers. Thus, we have less volume of ground to act as a sponge and hold back the water.

Another factor is that we are putting more water vapour into the atmosphere through our increased burning of hydrocarbons. Combustion of one litre of petrol produces just over a litre of water. And as our power stations change their fuel from coal to natural gas, there will be even more water going into the atmosphere. More water in the atmosphere means more rain.

A third factor is that global warming is increasing the rate of evaporation from seas and lakes.

Perhaps we reflect on the above factors and see that much of this flooding is of our own making.