YEP Letters: December 30

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Flaw in flood defence principle

Martin J Phillips, Cookridge

I’ve been telling successive governments for the past 20 years or more that the principle of employing flood defences along the banks of rivers is flawed.

York has provided a good example of this: the flood barriers on the Foss were causing extra (flood) water to flow into the Ouse thus causing that to overflow its flood barriers.

In the end the powers that be lifted the Foss flood barriers to allow the Foss to flood in order to take pressure off the Ouse flood barriers.

I suspect the flooding in Leeds was similarly made worse by flood defences further up the river around places like Keighley. If flood defences are increased in Leeds then more water will then hit the next weak spot on the river e.g. Castleford. All flood barriers do is divert the problem elsewhere.

After the recent devastation, the government might finally start to think instead about using a series of dams/reservoirs in the upper reaches of rivers to control the flow of water into rivers thus keeping rivers at a stable level. (This is basic ‘O’ level Geography!)

I have also written to succesive governements about taking the National Lottery ‘in house’ so that instead of the profits going to greedy shareholders, the money can be retained in reserve to pay for disasters like the recent flooding or to help out with (winter) crises in the NHS and Social Care.

Sadly, governments prefer to let their rich friends have the money.

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Management must be local

Sue Doughty, Reading

Your front page is outrageous.

The Gulf Stream hits the west and north of the British Isles harder than the South East, that is what made Britain the shape it is.

As for spending on rainwater control the River Thames is a regulated, managed and navigable river with locks and weirs along most of it – work done over hundreds of years, maintained at very high cost paid locally and by river users. In contrast most of the weirs for water mills, and fish weirs, in rivers in the North where rainfall is much higher have been dismantled or swept away and never replaced.

If York wishes to avert sudden and excessive influxes of water they need to pay for a great deal of indigenous tree planting among the high fells and dales. The urbanisation of footpaths by the National Parks Authorities must stop - adding hardcore and clearing “drains” is changing the way the land behaves. The lands they were set up to preserve is supposed to be wild and hard to walk over.

Make it legal to take extraneous stones from becks for local building as it always was. Stop potholers opening the width and capacity of the pots their explore – if you can’t fit through it you are not to go through it! Towns built by rivers need to organise their management for much of the length upriver, their margins dredged and depth enhanced to make them navigable for sport and recreation, with waste now created used to build new higher berms, long mounds planted up to act as flood barriers.

Residences being built on the level by the Thames and other rivers must by law allow for the river to take the lower floor as and when it requires – they call that part of their home “garage”.

Southern rivers have poplars and willow trees to make rainwater feed boreholes.

River management must be local, not national.

Why support expansion?

Bryan Tomlinson, Harlington, Heathrow Villages

Our hearts go out to all those Yorkshire folk that have suffered due to the current flooding.

At the same time we question why Leeds MPs, Leeds Council and Leeds Business Chambers all support Heathrow expansion.

More pollution, more carbon emissions, more pouring of millions of tons of concrete on to Green Belt land and demolition of thousands of homes will lead to increased flooding across the UK.

Your Leeds representatives want Yorkshire taxpayers to pay towards the £20 billions of subsidies for Heathrow expansion infrastructure.

Yorkshire reps should be overflowing with ideas to build flood defences, roads and even expand Leeds/Bradford Airport instead of grovelling to London centric Heathrow growth.

If Leeds MPs and business troughers continually push for the destruction of our homes our compassion for your grief will quickly subside.

Consequence of spending cuts

Stephen Clark, Leeds 12

People often say that all politicians are the same. Well in 2010 and 2015 a minority of the British people decided to elect a Tory government committed to the cutting of infrastructure spending.

This week we have seen the consequences of those decisions. With past and future cuts to the flood defences of West Yorkshire, this government decided to “save” money in the short term, only to pay a higher price in the longer term.

But the people who pay are those whose lives, homes and businesses are regularly ruined by these flood events.

YEP Letters: December 16