Monday, December 17, 2007

Causes Not solutions

We live at over 700 feet and so flooding is never likely to be a problem for us. Even the River Whiteadder (pronounced whit-adder) that runs into the Tweed is 50 to 70 feet below us. And yes there’s also a River Blackadder that’s also a tributary of the Tweed, but I digress. Sir Michael Pitt, the man asked to look into the floods of the summer by the government has said on the BBC, "We're trying to raise the priority of flooding, putting it on a level somewhat similar to terrorism."

Among 87 recommendations, the review suggests the public should act more responsibly (that’s a laugh – Ed), there should be more flood-resilient buildings, and greater leadership from local authorities.

He says that there is, no national flood emergency plan, no clear responsibility for dealing with urban flooding and no systematic stockpiling of emergency equipment, such as boats.

Of course this is all well and good and I cannot begin to imagine how awful it is to be flooded but it’s al a little bit too late and probably unattainable. The fact is local authorities have allowed building on flood plains on a massive scale and this cannot be undone. Furthermore the idea that somehow we can really plan for this is just setting up a massive what if scenario that is more than likely never to come into play. We need to accept that the price of progress (?) is that sometimes things will go wrong. There never can be a total solution to these type of situations.

This is fundamentally all about ‘politics’. Governments need to be seen to be doing things and so they set up reviews. We should be concentrating on the causes not looking for solutions once its all gone wrong.

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