YEP Letters: January 8

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Make flooding priority over trolleybus

Bob Jones, LS12

You report on your front page that Leeds City Council is seeking £190 million from central government to pay for much needed flood defences (YEP, January 4).

As a sweetener, the council could offer to withdraw its application to central government for the £176.5 million needed to build the trolleybus.

Flood defences would be a real help to thousands of our fellow citizens, whereas the trolleybus would merely duplicate an existing bus service on an already well served bus route.

Leeds City Council needs to get its priorities right.

Is £12 billion good value?

Coun Robert Finnigan, Morley Borough Independent

The horrendous impact of flooding across Great Britain and specifically across Yorkshire deserves some serious analysis to confirm how we have ended up in this situation.

It is clear that previous Governments, Labour, the Coalition and the present Tory Government have failed to adequately finance flood defences and only ever react to the problem after it has devastated people’s lives while blaming each other for previous failings.

What can be done to resolve such problems and where can the money be found?

It’s clear that building on green field sites creates the environment that contributes to additional flooding as green fields are concreted over to build new executive style housing.

Building on flood plains also contributes to the problem.

But the European Union has also materially contributed to the problems of flooding and could also provide the options for finding the necessary finance to resolve the problem.

The introduction of the European Water Framework Directive (EWF) in 2000 prevents the Environment Agency from dredging and mounding along rivers and streams to reduce the potential for flooding.

Indeed it prevents the EA from introducing more meanders along a river to reduce the speed and flow of water.

The European Union’s view is that rivers should be left in a “natural” state which prevents such proactive work. This means we are left with ugly constructions of harsh concrete to try and prevent (and in the case of Carlisle fail to prevent) flooding.

And the monthly cost of membership of the EU amounts to £1 billion – that’s £12 billion a year! 
Just a fraction of this money could be used to prevent the heartbreak and devastation to those thousands of households which had to deal with successive Governments’ refusal to take the threat of flooding seriously.

The referendum on EU membership is likely to be held shortly - possibly this summer or autumn. 
We need an honest debate about whether membership is - on balance - a good or a bad thing.

Part of that debate needs to be about how the EU stifles our capacity to make our own decisions as a country when dealing with the many challenges including flooding. 
Another part of the debate needs to be on whether £12 billion is good value for money. I’m not convinced it is.

Don’t build on flood prone land

Mike Lowry, Cookridge

Tragedies unfold each day for those whose lives are affected by flooding.

In time payment for the damage will come from increasing insurance premiums of all householders, and from those who pay local authority rates.

The only beneficiaries of this carnage will be contractors who are employed to rectify the damage.

There is a continued willingness of council planners to consent to new housing on known flood prone areas such as Moseley Wood (Soggy) Bottom in Cookridge, which would end up as further disaster for future householders and rate payers.

It’s time to call a halt to allowing building on known flood prone land.

A few words of praise

KE Coates, Garforth

Coun Keith Wakefield gets an OBE, a truly well deserved honour, for his great service to the people and city of Leeds.

Well done Keith and best wishes for the future.

I would also like to congratulate Grant Woodward, YEP columnist, for saying it is as it is. You are doing a fantastic job, keep up the good work.

Another person doing a very good job as a regular entrant in the Picture of the Day feature on these pages is a gentleman called Paul Goodyear. He takes excellent photos of many places in and around the city.

Maybe Paul could put a book of his work together, part proceeds to his favourite charity. Just a suggestion Paul.

Last, but certainly not least, the floods up north have been devastating.

Dredging used to be done in all waterways to keep the silt down as low as possible.

I would suggest going down a further two metres, cutting out any bottlenecks so water makes smooth progress, plus man-made spill over lakes just in case we get this abnormal amount of rainfall again.

My guess is we will, so it needs action now, not in two years’ time before this land of ours turns into an ocean.

YEP Letters: July 21