'More than 4,000 Welsh homes will be better prepared to deal with the effects of flooding, thanks to the extension of a free warning service from Environment Agency Wales' Check if you're area is eligible by visiting www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood
AM Llyr Huws Gruffydd has called for Wales to have its own flood action forum
There is a petition calling for 'government to take immediate action that will ensure flood victims and flood hit communities can obtain affordable flood insurance after 2013...'
I just watched a short film on a project about understanding local knowledge in the context of flooding. http://knowledge-controversies.ouce.ox.ac.uk/video/
Near the end, there's a community which the Environment Agency (EA) decided it couldn't help on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis (cba) - too few houses in the area to justify spending money on flood defences. So the community helped itself, building lots of small defences rather than a single big dam or whatever. Lots of small measures was what local knowledge suggested... Are there communities in Wales who have been judged as not cost effective for the EA to help? And I wonder if any communities have got together to help themselves?
This C4 documentary, produced and directed by Andrew Barron and shown on 12 February 2013, is worth watching. It's about 2012, of course, but Wales doesn't feature at all! Lots of facts and figures bandied about in the film - mostly to reinforce the apocalyptic tone (billions of gallons of water, millions of pounds, 5 million homes at risk...) Strangely, the tone is at the same time excited - is it all a bit of an adventure for normally dull Britain!? The health risk of flood water gets some attention, as do one-off, expensive housing 'solutions' (stilts), landslides... And there's the fearful prospect of being trapped in the car because the electrics fuse and there's no manual override to open the windows (this should be taken up with car makers, I think?). Another interesting aspect of the film is how much footage was taken on camcorders and especially mobile phones by 'ordinary people' and how, in at least one case, social media was used to spur community action. Not much mention of climate change or doing anything to mitigate extreme weather...
Strangely - or maybe not - flooding and water scarcity go hand in hand. In 2012 the UK's Adaptation Sub-Commitee report, 'Climate Change - is the UK planning for flooding and water scarcity?', recommended that:
1. The Government and local authorities should ensure more robust and transparent implementation of planning policy in relation to development in areas at risk of flooding.
2. The Government should support sustained and increased investment in flood defences from public or private sources; or in the absence of this identify ways to manage the social and economic consequences of more frequent flooding.
3. The Government and water companies should take further steps to increase efficiency in water use, including through water metering and pricing.
Read the report or a summary
"While we would not want to attribute every extreme weather event to climate change - the pattern is building and the costs are rising - the human costs and the financial costs. The costs of the 2012 floods here in the UK could easily top £1bn." So said UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey in a speech to the Royal Society, but do we trust the government to tranlate his words into action? Will they spend the money needed to provide adequate flood defences? (I've read that £1 spent = £8 saved in damages, but I wonder if that's true? The figure can't be the same for all places? I wonder how Wales rates - expensive, low/high priority politically???ther expensive to defend or its low on the priority list for political reasons?)
Negotiations between the UK government and the insurance industry haven't yet resulted in a new agreement on flooding... The insurers want government to guarantee a level of spending on flood defences if they are going to offer insurance to at risk homes (though they can probably afford to pay out anyway). With around 200,00 properties at risk in the UK and the need to build around 3 million new homes, an agreement is surely needed. What is it costing to insure your home? Has the cost gone up because of flooding? Or maybe you can't afford insurance and have to stand the risk yourself?
In January 2013, the Welsh government allocated an extra £5m for flood defences, particularly in Corwen and Colwyn Bay... But the Environment Agency warns it will need to triple its flood defence budget by 2035. Where will this money come from? How about a carbon tax on businesses literally fuelling the problem? Oh look, a flying pig! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-21057511
Reportedly, flood defence funding in down from five years ago!
The Environment Agency's assessment states that flooding and coastal erosion are likely to increase in future due to climate change. Yet, our governments continue to sanction open-cast coal-mining and fracking for gas in Wales. Although increased flood defences are clearly essential, are we treating the symptom and ignoring the cause?
Welcome to Flood Wales, a blog for everyone in Wales and beyond - water is no respecter of borders! - to share stories of flooding. If you've been flooded or flood defences are being built in your area, you have a story to tell. If you have experience with the environment agency or other government agencies, with the emergency services, with insurance companies etc, you can share it here. Does this flooding have anything to do with climate change? Is everyone who is affected being treated equally and fairly? What are we going to do about flooding in the future: Where and how shall we build our homes, for instance? The aim of Flood Wales is to share stories which may otherwise seep away with the receding flood waters. We can learn from each other's experiences, help each other out, and make our voices heard. So, please add your comments, photos etc.