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ada gazette SPRING 2014 | NEWS

JANUARY OVERVIEW • Wales received the highest total rainfall in the UK – 246.9mm

• Highest level of rain (175.2mm) in south- east and central-southern England since records began

• 1.2°C higher than average in UK (mean 4.9°C)

FEBRUARY 1-7 February: And the storms keep coming... On 1 February, coastal areas were at particularly high risk again. Fortunately a high tide and surge did not coincide with the strongest forecasted winds on this particular day. However on 3 February coastal towns in south-west England were fl ooded after being hit by large waves, strong winds and a high tide.

It's a disaster area down there [in Somerset] and it could have been avoided if we had kept up with maintenance on the rivers. We have a 20-year backlog of inactivity down there and it's actually very, very urgent that those rivers are dredged.

“ Dr Jean Venables Association of Drainage Authorities, Chief Executive ”

be overwhelmed. David Cameron chaired his fi rst Cobra meeting this year and announced an extra £100m for fl ood works. At Prime Minister's Questions he pledged £75m for repairs over the next year, £10m for urgent work in Somerset – where several rivers have fl ooded – and £15m for maintenance. On February 7, the Prime Minister visited

the Somerset Levels and said there were lessons to learn from the ongoing crisis. He stated that dredging would be carried out after the water levels fall.

“ Flood warnings 1 Feb 2014 (Environment Agency) Further rain continued to fall aff ecting the

River Severn in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, the Frome and Avon in Dorset, the River Thames and its tributaries in Oxfordshire, west Berkshire, Reading, Slough and Hampshire, and the Medway in Kent. On 4 February, Prince Charles visited fl ood-hit

areas of Somerset and told residents that it was a "tragedy" nothing had been done for so long. One of the Prince's charities is donating £50,000 to help victims, while the government announced an extra £300,000 of emergency funding.

By appointing an environment secretary who doesn't take climate change seriously this government has turned its back on the science and cut fl ood defence spending when it should be cutting emissions.

Clearly people here faced a tough time and continue to face a tough time and that's why we've got to do everything we can to help… Everything that can be done, will be done and I'll make sure that happens. There are always lessons to learn and I'll make sure they are learned. I've said that when the water-levels are down and it's safe to dredge, to make sure that these rivers and these ditches can carry a better capacity of water.

I'm very disappointed that the government hasn't acted on the advice it was given. The budget cuts are clearly part of the problem... The government has taken a risk on the basis that this kind of weather comes along one year in 100... it gambled and lost.

Julian Taylor Eastover Ward in Bridgwater ”

18-24 February: Insurance claims On 18 Feb, Ministers met insurance industry leaders to explain what they are doing to help victims of fl ooding across England and Wales. It was reported that since 23 December 2013, only £14m had been paid out to fl ood/storm victims despite the forcasted total payouts for victims estimated at £1bn [see page 16 for a guide on how to claim on your insurance]. Experts have predicted that the impacts in

Somerset will "take two years to recover". Standing water (4 metres deep in places) has prevented oxygen reaching the land below, killing nutrients and insects and making the ground toxic. On 24 Feb, there were still two severe fl ood

warnings in Somerset, 23 standard fl ood warnings and 112 fl ood alerts focused around the south and north-west of England.

David Cameron PM UK Prime Minister

8-10 February: Warnings for the Thames Worcestershire County Council announced that the Worcester city centre could be closed for a week because of fl ooding. On 10 February, several water gauges along the

River Thames measured record levels. However, water levels were not even at their peak. 16 fl ood warnings were in place along the Thames including 14 in Berkshire and Surrey putt ing 2,500 homes at risk. Two severe fl ood warnings remained in force

for the Somerset Levels and Moors. Floods and landslips caused a complete shutdown of rail routes into the south-west England.

Guy Shrubsole

Friends of the Earth, Climate Campaigner On 5 February, storms and waves caused

” “

a section of the sea wall in Dawlish, Devon to collapse leaving a railway line suspended in mid-air. In Somerset, residents of homes were evacuated amid fears that fl ood defences could

The government was caught out by the fl oods and it took far too long for ministers to realise the seriousness of the situation. There have been 21 meetings of [emergency committee] Cobra but it is far from clear what all the talk has achieved.

“ Maria Eagle Shadow Environment Secretary ”

It's an insult to fl ood victims that we have an Environment Secretary [Owen Paterson] who is a denier of the reality of climate change and we also can't have anyone in the cabinet who is denying the realities that we're facing with climate change.

There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly rain events.

Dame Julia Slingo MET Offi ce, Chief Scientist ” Blackwall, Romney Marsh IDB (Nick Bott ing)

Natalie Bennett Green Party of England & Wales, Leader ” what are our next steps..? Pumping on the Somerset Moors and Levels (Environment Agency) 9

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