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Who’s land is it anyway?

24 Jan

It’s been a rough few weeks for people all over the country. The wet and windy weather along with huge tides, has created floods which have been costly for all those unlucky enough to be caught up in them.

Extreme weather? Apparently not. Unpleasant certainly but nothing record breaking. Check for yourself. Even the MET say it’s nothing to do with the fallacy that is global warming/climate change etc.

So what is happening?

Simple. Two things really; firstly rivers are no longer being maintained and dredged and secondly houses are being built on flood plains.

The first is a simple one to fix. Farmers are well aware of the stream and rivers, which run through their land. They’ve known where the flood plain is and how it deals with river concrete banks being built which then cause issues further down stream. They also know that dredging is a key practice, which greatly reduces flooding, but of course it’s not good for the environment according to some.

Many years ago I lived in a small town and the local council were keen to promote businesses to come in and create jobs. A factory was to be built in an area just outside the town and plans were drawn up and building work carried out. A local farmer who had sold the land to the council told the council and then later the developers and builders that their plans would result in flooding.

Did they listen? Of course not. The result? Flooding and a delay to the factory opening until they got the drains sorted out properly this time.

There always seems to be an on going need for more new housing because of all the immigration over the past few years. That puts pressure on builders and developers who build on the flood plain and wall in rivers.

The bottom line on this is probably that more building should take place away from flood plains and where building does take place it should take into account the implications of river courses down stream and of course what’s already there upstream.

There is plenty of land in the UK suitable for building on. The green belt should be used more, it’s not like we are short of green belt. The trouble is that 90% of the land in the UK is owned by 10% of the population. We are living in small cramped houses, which are squeezed into the available land.

In Scotland, the government is currently carrying out a consultation to try to find a way to reduce the size of the huge estates that run to thousands and thousands of acres of land. Some of these estates are even owned by Scottish institutions so that would be a good place to start. Getting the lords and ladies to divest themselves of some of their land may well be a bit trickier but doable. It all sounds a bit Soviet but again there should be a solution which either hasn’t come up or has come up but it’s still too frightening to talk about.

Meantime the environment will adapt to water courses and the people who need the benefits which water course management will bring will continue to find their environment unpleasant until such times as a solution is implemented.

Perhaps the original builders and developers of buildings which are prone to flooding should have to pick up the cost?

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