YP Letters: No defence against power of the rivers

Residents and volunteers help clear up flood damage.
Residents and volunteers help clear up flood damage.
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From: Steve Robinson, Throstle Nest Close, Otley.

I FEEL desperately sorry for people whose homes and businesses have been flooded and naturally there is an outcry for more defences.

However, water will always find a way round defences. Building defences in one area will cause a problem elsewhere, upstream or downstream. If there had been defences for Leeds, other towns further down the Aire Valley would have been affected. Water will always find a way to the lowest level. The only effective defence would be to build huge walls on both sides of a river all the way to the sea.

The solution is to increase the cubic capacity of rivers by dredging. This increases the flow rate and by lowering the river bed helps to keep the water level lower. As the river flows more effectively it also helps to drain the saturated land.

Imagine you fill your bath and then pour in a quantity of stone, soil and sand. The bath overflows and finds its way through the ceiling to your downstairs rooms. Remove the stone, soil and sand and the water falls back within the bath.

River beds across the country have risen through lack of dredging, thus reducing the cubic space for the water to be contained in.

More of your letters on the floods crisis

From: D Webb, Rothwell.

WHY did George “fix the roof” Osborne fail to provide the money to fix our flood defences while the sun shone? Did he say “Northern Powerhouse” or “Northern Powerhose”?

From: Alec Denton, Guiseley.

IN recent years, Leeds Council has received numerous letters pointing out that if they allow developers to cover the ‘Ings’ and the ‘Springfields’ forming part of Leeds North West’s green belt with houses and roads, it is inevitable that the run-off water will increase the volume of water heading down the Aire to Leeds.

Is it too much to hope that planners will rediscover common sense and that in future and in the common interest, current green spaces with ancient names relating to wet places will receive automatic protection from large housing developments? The deluge of 2015 has shown conclusively that the green belt is more than just a means of separating town from country, it has a multitude of functions, not the least of which is its ability to delay water heading to the rivers and the protection of the green belt is primarily the responsibility of our council, not the Government.

From: Geoffrey Thorpe, Lister Avenue, East Bowling, Bradford.

THE common denominator of these floods without a doubt is lack of investment in flood defences and building on low lying land e.g. old flood plains.

Not many years ago we were told that the floods that covered large swathes of the country were a once-in-100 years happening and therefore it was not feasable to spend large amounts of money on flood defences.

If you look at the amount spent on the flood defences in Pickering, that money was well spent, as the defences did what they were built for.

From: Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

I WRITE to express my thanks to the many people of Yorkshire who were out and ready to help their neighbours during the December storms – from churches and community centres that opened their doors to those who handed out cups of tea in the driving rain.

We saw the real Yorkshire spirit and people’s generosity exceeded all expectations.

I also want to thank the members of the emergency services, military, Environment Agency, volunteers and all others who responded in December. I saw for myself first hand teams of people from across the country who had travelled at short notice to help total strangers in any way they could – many giving up time with their families over the festive period to help.

To all those who gave so much time and effort your contribution was invaluable, thank you.

From: David Thompson, Bolton Percy, York.

WITH regard to the horrific potential of the school bus in the flood (The Yorkshire Post, January 6), how inadequate was the bus company’s response in describing it as an “unfortunate incident” and saying that they would be “interviewing” the driver? Surely the police should be interviewing the driver?

From: Toby Fay, Midhurst, West Sussex.

THIS year’s low pressure winter Atlantic weather systems are making landfall further north causing flooding for the good folk of Yorkshire and Lancashire when compared with two years ago when we down south suffered a similar fate. We hope it won’t be too long before life returns to normal.

From: Nick Hudson, Harrogate.

MANY thanks to Tom Richmond for his Saturday Essay (The Yorkshire Post, January 2). Brilliant. Absolutely spot on. Happy New Year.

From: Alan Tidswell, Dacre, Near Harrogate.

THERE has been much negative reporting regarding the cuts in Northern flood prevention versus the ring fencing of David Cameron’s pet project namely, overseas aid (The Yorkshire Post, January 2).

What a good many supporters of Mr Cameron’s largesse may not realise is that the £12bn a year year budget for overseas aid comes from borrowing on international money markets. This adds to our massive annual deficit.

I wonder what advice a bank manager would give to a customer who was deep in debt couldn’t pay the credit card or mortgage who asked for yet a further loan to donate to their favourite charity over the other side of the world!

Most Northern folk would not begrudge playing our part relieving genuine suffering in the Third World. However, the sight of Mr Cameron crowing over our being the second largest aid donors in Syria, next to the USA, will not go down well at the Dog & Duck.