YP Letters: Renewing farming best practice a better cure for flooding

A man wades through a flooded street in Hebden Bridge.
A man wades through a flooded street in Hebden Bridge.
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From: Anthony G Milroy, Cragg Vale, Hebden Bridge.

SOME millions of pounds of recent, downstream flood rehabilitation investment spent in Calder Valley have only recently been rendered useless, finally overwhelmed by the third and biggest, ‘once in a hundred year’, flood event in the past decade. Yet again, even more millions of pounds of further damage have occurred to properties, lives and livelihoods in a three mile stretch of the Upper Calder Valley, representing over 50 per cent of all the overall damage across the entire Yorkshire region.

Based on over four decades of professional experience, I am of the view that the renewal of neglected, traditional farming and field drainage ‘best-practices’, proven in Calderdale’s upper catchment, livestock pastures over the past six centuries, can better succeed, more quickly and cost-effectively, in preventing the causes of flooding than costly, capital works downstream.

With over 90 per cent of all rain falling above the valley watercourses, the neglect of traditional, upland husbandry systems primary, underlying causes of very large areas of the upper-catchment becoming water-logged. Thus fields that previously acted as a sponge are now more like a giant Tarmac car park. This has, in turn, massively increased the frequency, rapidity and volumes of surface water run-off, accelerating and heightening the downstream flash-floods and markedly increasing consequent infrastructure damage, precisely where most of the vulnerable, riverine population live, shop and work.

The immediate imperative is for all involved technical and funding agencies to first accept and admit to their failures in identifying the underlying causes of the increased flooding and their continued reluctance to support relatively low-cost, long-proven practices. Instead they continue to favour their own, clearly inadequately modelled, expensive capital works in the valley bottom, which have wasted scarce resources and have already been overwhelmed.

From: Arthur Marson, New North Road, Huddersfield.

THE solution to the problem 
is to take all the connections 
with water and then work out 
a priority system for dealing 
with them on a nationwide 

Rivers, reservoirs, drains 
and hydro electric, controlled 
on a nationally connected system, which would eliminate shortages and surfeits, providing that Mother Nature carries 
on much as it has done in the past.