Flooding and Dredging - the WTT view
Posted on January 30, 2014
We recognise the immense distress and loss that flooding is causing to households and business across the country and especially southern England. However, we also believe that a return to wholesale dredging of our rivers is not the way forward. In particular, the terrible flooding in the Somerset Levels should not drive policy and practice for river management across the UK as they are unique landscapes with a long history of man made water courses.
We are spending millions and millions as a nation trying to put right the harm caused by past decades of dredging our rivers. In many cases, problems from flooding are the result of truly extraordinary weather and mismanagement at a catchment scale — intensive land use high in the catchment that delivers lots of water super-quickly to the rivers, then straightened rivers that deliver that water super-quickly to the floodplain where houses and businesses are inappropriately sited.
So, the solution needs to be at a catchment scale. Let’s not wholesale (re) wreck our rivers and spoil them all over again for the whole of society. Thought provoking piece from RSPB : http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/martinharper.aspx.
WTT is working with a number of conservation organisations that share concerns over the dredging issue and are contributing to the discussion based on our own practical experience as well as published research.
See also previous news items:
And our library page on dredging which includes a video on the unintended consequences of dredging and an evidence paper on dredging from the EA. Click here to go to the library page.