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EU Rules Expose Britain’s Flood Defences

November 14, 2019

By Paul Homewood

According to the Express:



EU directives on “habitats”, “birds”, “water” and “floods” have dominated the UK’s river management strategy for nearly 20 years. The Government’s hands have been tied by a vast list of European Union directives, critics say. The Environment Agency must obey strict rules set in the EU Water Framework Directive to protect wildlife and plants when implementing its dredging strategy.

While the Government has the final decision on whether to clear water channels of silt build-ups, sources have told the Express.that the process is severely hindered by EU rules protecting the “ecological health of rivers”.

The EU insists flood risk management “should work with nature, rather than against it”, according to a note released by the bloc’s environment department in 2011.

Work dredging the country’s waterways has been significantly scaled back because of the huge costs of disposing of silt under the EU Waste Framework directive.

The European Commission categorises dredged material as waste rather than a natural resource, making its disposal costly and time-consuming.

Britain has been blighted by flooding in recent days, with 34 more warnings still in place across England, from Somerset and East Sussex to the Lower River Nidd near Harrogate in Yorkshire, and seven across Wales.

Farmers argue that the recent floods in the East Midlands and Yorkshire could have been avoided if more preventative measures were rolled out.

Stuart Roberts, the vice-president of the National Farmers’ Union, has warned the Government it needs to be more proactive with its dredging strategy.

He said: “As has become abundantly clear over the past few days, it is essential that flooding and water management in river and coastal areas is properly funded and properly prioritised to protect urban and rural businesses, infrastructure and communities.

“With more extreme weather becoming ever more common, the Environment Agency must prioritise essential maintenance of flood defence assets and watercourses which have been neglected for decades.


Of course, this is not the first time this issue has reared its head, Christopher Booker revealed that EU environmental directives lay behind the Somerset floods four years ago.

While it is easy for the Environment Agency to blame the floods on “climate change”, we already know that last week’s rainfall was a long way from being “unprecedented” or “biblical”.

Fishlake, the village near Doncaster, which is at the centre of the worst of the floods, lies in a very flat and low lying area next to the River Don. As such it is extremely vulnerable to flooding, as the village archived photos from 1922, 1928, 1932 and 1933 below illustrate, along with newspaper accounts from earlier centuries:






Going further back in time, Fishlake was actually a sea port in the Middle Ages. It then moved inland, but was still a very marshy area until it was drained in the 17thC:

FLEEING the pagan Vikings monks from Lindisfarne or Holy Island travelled with their relics and other valuables down the east coast of Northern England, along the Humber and up the river Don to spend a night en route at Fishlake. They disembarked with the body of Saint Cuthbert at what we still call the Landing and spent the night on the site of the present parish church of Saint Cuthbert…..

Towards the end of the mediaeval period the village became an inland, and even a ship-building, port. Names of some of the buildings along the river still bear witness to that era ( such as the Old Anchor Inn and the Custom House)…..

In 1626 Cornelius Vermuyden received a charter from Charles I to drain the Isle of Axholme and Fishlake to create fertile farmland. The locals did not take kindly to this threat to their livelihood–they lived on the eels and fish from the ponds which Cornelius and his Dutchmen were draining– and the result was fisticuffs. It is said that in those days there were twelve pubs in Fishlake to ‘slake the thirst of the Dutch workers’…..


As with the Somerset Levels, if drainage systems are not properly maintained, nature will reassert itself.






According to the Telegraph, the Environment Agency is also under fire for not giving adequate warning of the floods at Fishlake.

I fail to understand why they did not.

The major factor last week was that the dams upstream of Sheffield were already full, and have been so for much of the summer. This made it inevitable that the heavy rainfall last week would cause problems downstream. The River Don was also at a high level beforehand.

Furthermore, the low lying countryside around Fishlake was saturated prior to the rain. By coincidence, I went cycling there just two weeks ago, and the main road into Barnby Dun, just a couple of miles from Fishlake, was closed because of flooding, which had spilled over from adjacent fields.

In that particular area, the fields appear to be lower than the adjacent canal, making the water hard to drain away.

Given these conditions and the rainfall at Sheffield the day before, surely the EA should have been forewarned?

  1. November 14, 2019 7:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. The Man at the Back permalink
    November 14, 2019 7:49 pm

    Yes Paul BUT think of the water molluscs!!

    The EA and The Met Office are joined at the hip, even sharing an Ops Centre I believe. So the EA get the full Climate Change (CC) treatment.

    CC is one thing (well its not really) but failing to warn residents of the impending crisis has nothing to do with CC and all to do with incompetence. I am sure that many of their river flow and drainage staff over the last 20 years have expressed disquiet at the lack of dredging.

    The Met Office forecasts over the last week have been pretty accurate as far as rainfall is concerned – BUT For the EA, all the blame falls either on the EU or Climate Change. Pathetic

  3. Up2snuff permalink
    November 14, 2019 7:56 pm

    The EU’s legislation, rules and directives on rivers may be well-intentioned but it is ignorant of the ways and the power and strength of nature. You can build walls along rivers, disrupting wildlife and burning more fossil fuels in the process, but sooner or later they will be overtopped. The process will have to be repeated with higher walls. And again. And again.

    Clearance of debris (human littering as well as natural) and the removal of silt by dredging, if done well causes minimal harm to wildlife, I would have thought, and does not need to be done again for some time. It can enhance the local flora and fauna.

    Perhaps the EU should listen to the BBC’s Gardeners Question Time archive, to all the Panel’s past advice on the management of garden ponds.

    Any area of water, whether running or still, requires management.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    November 14, 2019 8:06 pm

    The River Don flooded very badly in 1856, 1861, 1886 (the year mentioned in your leaflet about Fishlake) and 1932. The May 1932 floods were huge and the village of Bentley nearby was flooded for several weeks. Interestingly you refer to Fishlake being flooded four times in the decade from 1922-1933 – what would the media make now of somewhere was flooded that regularly!

    Your points about the malevolent EU Directives are true. In a previous ‘life’ about 12 years ago I was delegated to attend the regional consultative Committee for the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. Who has even heard of this, outside a few ‘insiders!’ Yet, the implications of it are and will be profound. We had it explained to us at that time that the general idea was to return all our watercourses back to pre-industrial times – to a ‘natural’ state, before industrialisation ruined everything. And the BIG problem is that those I met from all our own Government Agencies were only too keen to see it implemented. We do have a problem that the Environment Agency and others are infested with people who are ‘deep green’ obsessives. I even met one of the senior people from one of these Agencies who thought we should be abandoning two of the biggest city centres in our region and – somehow – relocate them somewhere else! This is at the heart of why we have so many problems in our country – there is no democratic control, there is no political oversight, there is no accountability: we are at the mercy of the bureaucratic state, in which employees of agencies are making fundamental decisions that are overturning our lives and the EU has been at the heart of this and encouraged it.

  5. November 14, 2019 8:07 pm

    How do previously well drained areas like Fishlake and Bardney Eau
    get to be 1000 acre lakes.?
    TV news says “rain” “Climate change”
    They never explain about *drainage bank breaches*
    The drone footage shows , that working drainage channel banks get one breach in them
    ..and the the water spills in
    Is that EA’s lack of maintenance ?
    I would guess so.
    .. another Twitter video

    • November 14, 2019 8:08 pm

      The EA’s job is to maintain banks and fix them
      You’d think they’d have something like giant floating tumbleweed that finds it’s way into the breach,
      then gets tangled, gets soaked with water and thus plugs the gap.

      • November 14, 2019 8:29 pm

        Guiding a convoy-of-trucks-worth of sea weed dumped into the right flow ?

    • November 14, 2019 8:57 pm

      My typo : The River Barlings Eau, near Bardney

    • john cooknell permalink
      November 15, 2019 11:57 am


      How do you paste pictures into WP blog post?, I can do You tube (it just does it) but despite reading all the stuff I cannot get a pic pasted.

      Promise not many pics!

      • November 15, 2019 2:42 pm

        The easiest way of including extra content like video is to post a tweet url
        in the comment box
        To get the tweet’s URL right click over its time stamp and select copy.
        – Similarly when you post a Youtube URL the video auto-embed
        – Photos I think if the URL ends in jpg or gif then they auto embd

  6. November 14, 2019 8:09 pm

    In the flood pictures I see some homes that have £15K worth of SUBSIDISED solar panels on their roofs
    so in areas where the EA is not at fault surely that £15K should have been spent on flood barriers.

    • November 14, 2019 9:52 pm

      Having cycled around there a few times, there are a lot of new houses as well. One wonders who allowed them to be built on flood plains

      • Tonyb permalink
        November 14, 2019 11:22 pm

        The local council, who like the money from the development or even if they are against building on flood plains are often too weak to stand up to developers. I have been in many an environment agency meeting whereby they have advised a council not to go ahead with an estate on the flood plain and the council have just ignored them.


      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        November 15, 2019 8:32 am

        Mrs Balls said it’s fine…..

      • LeedsChris permalink
        November 15, 2019 10:06 am

        The difficulty planning authorities face its that most of our cities and towns are in floodplains and sometimes Environment Agency advice is just impractical. In Yorkshire I have been in meetings at which senior EA people have said we should me moving Hull or moving Leeds city centre.. to which my reply would be well, central London is in a floodplain and 90% of the Netherlands is in a floodplain, somehow they manage…..why should we abandon our cities in the North of England?

      • Up2snuff permalink
        November 15, 2019 5:22 pm

        Why build on flood plains? It’s what people do. For millennia.

        London is built on a flood plain. The Romans arrived by boat. Only one of two ways to travel back then. Wretched Wright Brothers: thousands of years late with their invention!

        Silt includes soil and is rich in nutrients. It makes for easy farming and good yields on flood plains. It is why people, often poor people, live near estuaries vulnerable to flooding (eg. Bay of Bengal) because it provides a slightly easier and better living from the land.

        Salt marsh provides great grazing for sheep and cattle. Then there’s the ‘free’ food available for the time & effort of fishing. What’s not to like?

  7. Harry Passfield permalink
    November 14, 2019 8:40 pm

    If TPTB drained/managed the flood-risk to places like Fishlake (and my own riverside plot, which is being inundated as I write) they would have no excuse such as CC to fall back on. They need to support the CC myth so, by doing nothing they can claim that it’s nothing to do with them: It’s Climate Change, innit!

  8. TomO permalink
    November 14, 2019 8:47 pm

    The EA are guaranteed to simply invoke whatever legislation suits their own purpose – be that punt jobs to their cronies or cover up their own regular screw-ups. The public are way down the list of priorities at what must be the leading dysfunctional quango in a crowded field.

    They advised CaRT to invoke “National Security” to imho cover up their handling of the Whaley Bridge dam fiasco – and the dopes obliged.

  9. It doesn't add up... permalink
    November 14, 2019 8:48 pm

    Did Boris miss a trick in his visit to the area? Surely after Brexit we can ditch the Water Directive and be sensible about these things – something he could so easily have pointed out? It’s on my hot list of things to reform.

    • Steve permalink
      November 15, 2019 10:00 am

      The WA and PD that Boris will be signing requires the UK to mirror EU environmental law and standards.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        November 15, 2019 1:49 pm

        The Withdrawal Agreement only covers 3 topics – meeting our financial obligations, citizenship and preventing a border between N Ireland and Ireland. The Political Declaration sets out a possible scenario which can be changed once the negotiations on our future arrangement begin if other ways of doing things can be made to work.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 15, 2019 1:56 pm

      Theresa May created the problem for our future relationship with the EU as soon as she made her Lancaster House speech. Her total ignorance of what Brexit entails – egged on by the bearded twat Nick Timothy – had her cast aside the only viable option which was to seek membership of efta to remain in the EEA and the Single Market. EU Directives do not apply to the Single Market and so by following this route would have seen us dump 75% of EU legislation including all the global warming crap. Now we are on the back foot and forced to seek a trade agreement, all the eco crap will be a requirement for any deal. Look how Macron tried to put remaining committed to the Paris agreement a requirement of the trade talks with the US – he was slapped down by more sensible leaders who understood Donald was not for turning back on his promise to leave.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        November 15, 2019 2:19 pm

        I’m not convinced that we have followed the proper procedures to withdraw from the EEA in accordance with Article 127 of the EEA Agreement – which require us to give 12 months formal notice in writing, which is supposed to trigger a diplomatic conference that I have not seen occurring. If that is the case, then there would still be quite a chunk of the EEA Agreement that applies to the UK as a Contracting Party – in particular rights to free trade, but not to freedom of movement or requirement to paying the EU anything or implement any of its laws in our territory.

  10. Paul Kolk permalink
    November 14, 2019 8:52 pm

    Might there be a clue in the name of the village? However, I do feel for them.

    • November 14, 2019 9:01 pm

      No that is wrong .. don’t laugh at the name
      Plenty of areas in the UK were properly drained for a thousand plus years
      As long as you manage the drainage properly there is absolute minimal house flooding.
      Those houses mostly never flooded before.
      However some stupid new developments like the Water Meadows estate in Tewksbury right next to the mighty river Severn is asking for trouble.

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        November 15, 2019 8:34 am

        Just build a big wall. Don’t worry about where that water then goes………

  11. November 14, 2019 9:03 pm

    Searching under “Barlings Eau” is useful
    “Barlings Eau burst its bank this morning
    …. same spot as 2007
    …… EA need to seriously reassess management of waterways ⁦
    ⁩ #flooding #lincolnshire #farminguk

  12. Mike Jackson permalink
    November 14, 2019 9:11 pm

    I don’t dispute that many of the EU Directives — meant with the best of intentions (who would argue against “working with nature rather than against it”?) — are unduly onerous and in some instances misguided, but has the UK government never heard of the principle of proportionality?

    Directives are supposed to be implemented with regard to local conditions and not blindly followed to (and often in the UK, beyond) the letter. It emerged from the Somerset Levels floods a few years ago that not only did illegal action by a local farmer exacerbate the situation, the ex-RSPB head of the EA decided to go beyond the limits of the Directive in her efforts to turn the whole area, including viable farms, into wetland.

    It would be interesting to know who proposed including the Levels as wetland in the first place because the designation will not have emanated from the Commission because that is not what they do. Somebody in the UK is responsible for having suggested the idea.

    Incidentally, I am struggling to find any mention in the relevant Directive of silt or dredging material or any suggestion that spreading such material on adjacent land is in breach of this Directive. My reading is not exhaustive but I can’t help feeling that had there been the political will (or the bureaucratic will more likely) sensible maintenance of waterways could have continued. As someone once pointed out in a different context, “(EU Directives) are not intended to be a suicide pact”. Other countries manage to interpret Directives with a touch of common sense. What prevents the UK from doing the same has always been a mystery to me!

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      November 14, 2019 10:57 pm

      “who would argue against “working with nature rather than against it”?

      Well much in what you say Mike, but that isn’t how they see it. The drive of many of these environmentalist ideas is to remove man’s hand from the landscape. You see the same mentality from the National Trust who are determined to change the Parkland of big estates back to heathland. They seem driven by the same anti-human sentiments seen elsewhere.

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        November 15, 2019 9:40 am

        I agree and long since gave up donating to the NT or the RSPB — which seem to be the two worst.

        Both the EU and the UK government are in thrall to the activist environmentalists who, to give them credit, have been very effective at getting their lies believed and acted upon. But the UK has shown a marked inclination to take every Directive and put the worst possible spin on it (the late Chris Booker quoted numerous examples) while most countries have put the best (from their point of view) spin on them.

        If you want a classic example, look at Directive 91/440 which was concerned with “separating the management of railway operation and infrastructure from the provision of railway transport services” — and that is basically all it was about. Nothing about half-a-dozen different companies for carriages and freight and goodness knows how many franchisees! That was purely our doing but ask the majority of our civil servants why the railway system (or British rivers!) are in a mess and they will instantly point the finger at “Brussels”!

        Which, en passant, is why I am pessimistic about the outcome of Brexit, whichever version we settle for. I see no reason to assume the bureaucrats will loosen their grip! If anything they will try to tighten it.

    • LeedsChris permalink
      November 15, 2019 10:48 am

      The answer to why we get the EU Directives enforced to the absurd is that we have a quangocracy of agencies whose staff are absolutists and enforce Regulations without any proper oversight or scrutiny. The views of many staff in these agencies and the extreme view they have on environment issues is often truly frightening, yet there is no accountability and little understanding, politically or democratically, about the impact this is having.

    • ianprsy permalink
      November 15, 2019 11:23 am

      If you’re a civil servant, then there’s a lot more security and job enhancement in “gold plating” than “proportionality”. Applies in all departments. For instance, EU m/c test regs require an emergency stop from what translates into 31mph. Instead of adjusting for the UK speed limit of 30mph, so that the test could be carried out on urban streets, the DfT spent £million on off-road test centres with other knock-ons. You Couldn’t Make It Up!

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 15, 2019 5:28 pm

      MJ, problem is that Whitehall gold-plates EU legislation and directives and follows them to the letter. Wiser Civil Servants would say to Ministers: “This doesn’t suit us, let’s arrange an opt-out.”

  13. swan101 permalink
    November 14, 2019 9:29 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  14. paul weldon permalink
    November 14, 2019 9:37 pm

    Going further back in time, Fishlake was actually a sea port in the Middle Ages. It then moved inland, but was still a very marshy area until it was drained in the 17thC:

    As far as I can gather, this part of the UK has little post-glacial rebound, so using sea-level as a reverse proxy, is this another confirmation that the mediaeval warm period had warmer temperatures than at present?

  15. john cooknell permalink
    November 14, 2019 9:40 pm

    At the rear of my house is a charming brook, at the moment its flow it extends across many acres of low lying farmland. My house is OK and hopefully will not flood as it has never done before.

    Unfortunately some in the village are at the moment getting their feet wet, as has happened quite a few times before.

    Expert views on what should be done are numerous, and indeed protection and mitigation works have been carried out.

    However, this is my view which I have shared with the EA and the LLFA.

    The main “Bourne” in the village is the responsibility of the EA and has auto level gauges, maintenance plan, flood walls etc and flood warning plans etc it generally sits at at 46mAOD. This main “Bourne” flows North to meet the main River Avon 1.5 miles away.

    The main River Avon flows South, but it used to flow North till about 7000 years ago.

    To the other (North) side of the village only 800metres away is an un-named ordinary watercourse that is the responsibility of the LLFA ( my nice little brook) that also flows North to meet the main River Avon (which is flowing south) some 3 miles further upstream. This brook has a large identified flood plain on low lying farmland that sits generally at 48mAOD.In effect this is part of the floodplain of the main River Avon. The local council want to build houses on it such is the pressure for development land.

    The reason these two tributaries flow North is they sit on separate ancient river Terraces from the time when the Main River flowed North.

    What happens is the main Bourne floods badly today, but the small brook will flood badly tomorrow, and because the brook really wants to run South it just flows through the streets to the lower terrace, links up with the other river gets stuck behind the flood defences and the whole things a bit of a mess.

    By the time the experts get here all has returned to normal, and the split of responsibility makes sorting it out quite difficult, and the local council need somewhere to build housing and schools etc.

    I send pictures of the floods to the EA and pictures to the LLFA and they interpret things quite differently and tell me things I know are wrong. They call in experts, who in my opinion,adopt a sit on the fence technical approach as they do not wish to upset anyone. But climate change gets frequently mentioned.

  16. Dave Ward permalink
    November 14, 2019 10:00 pm

    “The Government’s hands have been tied by a vast list of European Union directives, critics say”

    But it needn’t have been that way: Labour’s planned 4 day working week is in the news, and Professor Angus Dalgleish writes in the Daily Mail of how it would be terminal for the NHS. His justification is how the EU working time directive has already caused serious problems, and he then quotes this conversation:

    “Why aren’t you angrier about all these new European rules?’ I asked an Italian colleague at a conference. He looked at me blankly, before realising what I was talking about. ‘Oh, those rules — we call them the English rules because only the English are stupid enough to obey them”

    No doubt the EA could perfectly well have carried out proper maintenance – if only some of their well paid senior managers had stood up to the civil servants trying to impose the EU Water Framework Directive on them. It’s real life “Yes Minister” all over again…

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 20, 2019 8:31 pm

      DW, “It’s real life “Yes Minister” all over again…”

      So right, that!

      I bought a box set of the series a couple of years ago. It is surprising how relevant it still is, especially after the EU Referendum.

  17. Chris permalink
    November 14, 2019 10:10 pm

    The name Fishlake sort of gives it away Same issue re the Somerset Levels Chris


    • Mack permalink
      November 14, 2019 10:38 pm

      Ah, yes, Fishlake, the clue might be in the name you would think? And, when I heard about the flooding there I had a quick look online and, lo and behold, I found a very interesting website hosted by the local parish church, St Cuthbert’s. It’s the first ecclesiastical website that I’ve ever seen that has a dedicated webpage to, funnily enough, ‘Hydrology’ i.e. flooding to you and me. And, as Paul has alluded to, the benefice has a long history of flooding. And, it seems, the older houses in the village, built when grown ups knew the difference between flood plain and outcrops, seem to have fared much better to the recent deluge than the more modern developments. It’s almost as if our forebears knew what they were doing, through centuries of experience, long before ‘climate change’ became a thing.

      • November 14, 2019 11:19 pm

        ” It’s almost as if our forebears knew what they were doing”

        Are you suggesting ignorant unwashed peasants knew more about hydrology than the political appointees in the EA ???

        ‘How dare you’ (:-))

      • Dave Ward permalink
        November 15, 2019 11:29 am

        “And, it seems, the older houses in the village, built when grown ups knew the difference between flood plain and outcrops, seem to have fared much better to the recent deluge than the more modern developments. It’s almost as if our forebears knew what they were doing”

        In today’s Daily Mail:

        “What folly to build on floodplains like Fishlake”

        “The Victorians elevated their houses, building steps up to their front doors. Yet builders and councillors today ignore the wisdom of the ages and what would seem to be obvious dangers. South of Uckfield, East Sussex, developer Persimmon Homes is planning to build 119 homes on a flood plain at a place called Mallard Field. And near Mirfield, West Yorkshire, Miller Homes is intending to put up 67 houses on a water meadow called Hopton Bottom even though locals say the area has already flooded no fewer than six times this year”

        Sadly, there are the usual “Climate Change”, and “Extreme Weather” references, but otherwise it’s mostly common sense.

  18. November 14, 2019 11:18 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    To add to Paul’s excellent analysis on the current flooding, this is a good thread on Fishlake’s history (the clue is in the name):

    If we are to learn any lessons from the current deluge, it is that we must relearn what we have quite possibly known for millennia – that in times of feast we prepare for famine and in times of flood prepare for drought. There was a reason why year after year we practised tasks such as dredging and whitewashing houses. It is by understanding that and maintaining – modifying if need – the infrastructure, both natural and man made, which protects us from the worst ravages the weather throws at us.

  19. November 15, 2019 2:00 am

    Where does the water supply in the Fishlake area come from?
    Is it piped all the way in from the Pennines?
    Or is it extracted from local boreholes?
    I suspect the latter. (Why lay miles of expensive pipe when there is an aquifer immediately below you?)
    And if it is being extracted from local aquifers, then that would be a major cause of ground level subsidence.

    Something similar is happening at Venice, “During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside. It was realized that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause. The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the 1960s.” “Studies indicate that the city continues sinking at a relatively slow rate of 1–2 mm per annum.”

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      November 15, 2019 6:18 am

      Such places have great depths of sediments and these will consolidate because of physical and biological activity. The normal process of rivers carrying new sediment and depositing that on the existing surface is slowed or enhanced by actions upstream. Massive rain or farming increases, and extreme dry weather decreases, sediment load.

      Building on the exposed sediments prevents further replenishment and canals (channels) allow the sediments to flush farther out away from the land.

      Here is a link to some of what is known about The Lagoon of Venice.

      • john cooknell permalink
        November 15, 2019 10:50 am

        Part of the problem around Fishlake and the Don valley in general is the discontinuation of coal mining.

        Pits pumped loads of water and this was part of the local area hydrology.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      November 16, 2019 10:37 pm

      The water will come out of the River Don. No need for borehole water supplies. There are only around 140,000 properties that have private water supplies in the UK.

  20. Dan permalink
    November 15, 2019 8:40 am

    So in other words, it is not the EU’s directives, which are optional in this regard anyway. EU flood defense directives are not prescriptive.

  21. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 15, 2019 9:04 am

    I’m not convinced by the “It’s all the EU’s fault”. Until someone can show me proof that it is a Europe wide issue then perhaps
    1. The UK has implemented the rules differently
    2. The UK has used it as an excuse to cut spending, the quangos doing this safe in the knowledge the public will unquestioningly accept it.
    3 Quango members believe they will have retired before the water hits the doorstep.
    4 The EA will be happy at money saving.

  22. November 15, 2019 9:08 am

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    So who or what is most to blame for the flood in Doncaster? Lack of wind mills or EU directives constraining the management of waterways coupled with poor incident management? I know where my money would be.

  23. Roderick Birrell permalink
    November 15, 2019 9:16 am

    I recall the EA wanted criminal charges against the occupier of land, not the owner which was a local authority, for depositing dredged material on land next to a stream. The occupiers knew nothing about it. In fact the silt was put there by workmen acting for the EA!
    Left hand, right hand or just sheer incompetence?

  24. November 15, 2019 9:47 am

    Northern and central England seem to have been getting much of Scotland’s rain recently…

  25. john cooknell permalink
    November 15, 2019 11:23 am

    Matt McGrath as always this am on BBC website.

  26. tomo permalink
    November 15, 2019 11:49 am

    Looks like CaRT + Environment Agency screwed up again.

    Worksop flooding made worse by CaRT refusing to open a sluice

    – will we get the “we can’t explain due to National Security concerns” defence again?

    • November 15, 2019 12:31 pm

      Ah Tomo, you beat me , I saw that this morning and has just been preparing a new Discussion thread on BH ..opened now

  27. George Lawson permalink
    November 15, 2019 1:15 pm

    “The Environment Agency must obey strict rules set in the EU Water Framework Directive to protect wildlife and plants when implementing its dredging strategy.”

    I’m not sure how the EU Water Framework Directive would lead to the current flooding problems, but I doubt whether it implied that it is better that millions of animals and other land insects should die in floods caused by a lack of dredging. The whole of land dwelling wildlife, including rabbits, hares, weasels, stoats, squirrels, hedgehogs, snakes. rats, and mice, etc., together with millions of beetles, spiders, ants and other insects, and some plant species, will have come to a watery end over millions of acres of land as a direct result of the floods. Perhaps it is the lack of action by our own Environment Agency that is the problem; they certainly have been found wanting on too many occasions when floods or other natural weather events crop up, and are always too ready to blame the protective and false shield of ‘It’s because of global warming’

    • TomO permalink
      November 15, 2019 1:32 pm

      As I’ve said elsewhere – and it bears repeating – the EA are bureaucrats who put their own interests front and centre above all else – rules is for little folk.

  28. Stephen Burchell permalink
    November 15, 2019 1:18 pm

    I, and all my farming neighbours have not been able to clear (or dredge, as politicos and the media call it) for many years. All of the rivers are full of gravel, rocks, debris etc. Hence widespread flooding.

  29. roger permalink
    November 15, 2019 3:38 pm

    I was a member of a river board when the EU directive landed on these shores and can categorically tell you that the interpretation by my board and every other board was the same.
    That banks could neither be strengthened nor repaired without much deliberation and then permission from wet behind the ears graduates and dredging was a definite no no since the spoil was designated toxic waste and as such there was no legitimate way of disposal that was not prohibitively expensive.
    The resultant silting and accretion of gravels was subsequently much lauded by the Young idiots now in full control and great delight and sage head noddings greeted the split of the stream into ‘braided threads of water’.
    These same graduates also gave carte blanche permissions for 700 to 1000 ton concrete plinths for each wind turbine situated on the acidic moorlands, the spawning ground and nursery area for seatrout and salmon, ignorant of the leaching out of alkaline liquor lethal to fish and benthic creatures alike.
    Of course the old people knew better. It was a matter of life and death for them to observe all of nature around them.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 15, 2019 8:57 pm

      roger, is the silt & soil from dredging designated as toxic because of run-off? If it is run-off from farmland, then the logical thing to do is to use it as farm fertiliser, is it not? You are minimising the necessity for manufacturing fresh fertiliser from fresh oil – an eco-win-win, a beneficial green ‘double whammy’.

      If it is designated toxic because of (illegal) industrial pollution, should not the illegal polluting be dealt with? That, instead of merely saying “We are not dredging, because the waste is too much of a problem to deal with.”, must be the correct approach.

      I think you and your board and the Civil Servants concerned, in the latter case, should be prosecuted. You are all just as culpable as the polluter.

      • roger permalink
        November 15, 2019 10:32 pm

        You must ask the EU why all dredgings from all rivers was designated toxic and why gravel that had been dredged for decades and used for farm tracks and foundings for barns suddenly acquired that description.
        There are those who try to defend the indefensible but in this case as in many others the real toxic entity is the centralised unelected bureaucracy that is Brussells.
        I was just a member of that unpaid board which fought for logical improvements but was hampered at every turn by buggins turn officials with little or no knowledge of the subjects on which they had jurisdiction.
        Most of life is run by these people in this country or had you not noticed?

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 20, 2019 8:28 pm

      Roger, Yes, I have noticed. One of the things I notice regularly is the misuse of the word ‘toxic’. The second thing I notice is that various entities can make money off the back of ‘official incompetence’. Until the volunteers and locals start to rise up and say “We need to improve things. We need to do things and work differently.” it will keep on happening.

      Failure to report industrial pollution, if I recall correctly, resulted in people becoming ill in the south-west of England a few years back. The media got hold of the story. Eventually, iirc, criminal proceedings and huge fines followed. A few more cases like that might just kick the politicians into kicking the ‘buggins turn’ officials in Whitehall into fixing things.

      Why did you not report a criminal offence, if that is what happened? Would that not have made you and your board of volunteers equally criminal as ‘accessories after the fact’?

  30. November 15, 2019 8:10 pm

    just now BBC local news the local Enviro reporter Paul Murphy just did a Global Warming advert
    2 minutes long with Theresa Villiers of EA and a scientist voice saying
    ‘this is CC the new future , such flood events will become more common with CC
    .. warmer air means atmosphere picking up more moisture.
    .. and the Jetstream moving will bring more floods’

    ..The same BBC guy in May did a similar advert saying ‘Here I with the farmers at a half empty river, cos *drought* is the new future’
    .. The Wainfleet floods started 4 days later

    ITV local news was live from Fishlake
    concentrating mainly on the work of volunteers
    no mention was made of Climate Change.

  31. November 15, 2019 8:49 pm

    excellent but not recently updated

    • November 15, 2019 11:44 pm

      Hi Stew

      you never cease to amaze with your links/finds.

      from your link – “Inland flooding is on the increase and has been forecast to reach 4.7 million homes annually. Yet there has been no national increase in annual rainfall. Our Full Report explains that the Environment Agency’s (EA’s) flawed policy of not dredging rivers is the main cause”

  32. November 15, 2019 11:16 pm

    May have picked it up wrong, but BBC news interviewed a resident who said “they should have listened to the local farmers”

    no further elaboration or facts from the BEEB!!!

    It’s all Climate Change/Global Heating/Fires/Ice Hysteria from the MSM.

    PS- thanks for the Pics/history Paul (wonder if MSM reporters/researchers even bother to dig into stories or just cut & paste from each other?)

  33. November 16, 2019 7:23 am

    Sheffield had it’s defences improved after 2007 by raising the height of the walls in places where it had flooded thus raising the river levels upstream. Environment Agency interviewee on the radio referred to ‘unprecedented water levels’ – yes because you have raised the river height downstream and failed to dredge upstream. Her statement was accepted by the BBC interviewer without challenge because they want to big up the ‘climate change’ angle not the EU or incompetence one.

    • November 16, 2019 2:24 pm

      Was that on Look North ?
      or ITV Calendar ?

  34. john cooknell permalink
    November 16, 2019 2:37 pm

    To give you an idea of what our village is up against, the people who got flooded had no warning as the cause was the un-named ordinary watercourse which is the responsibility of the Local Lead flood Authority. This watercourse does not flow into the River it goes a very different course to end up in the Main river Avon 3 miles North.

    Routine flood warnings were issued for the “bourne” River only 800 metres away as this is the responsibility of the EA, but no property flooding occurred caused by the main “bourne” River. It is on a lower ancient river terrace and flows into the River Avon 2 miles South..

    This has all happened many times before!

  35. November 16, 2019 4:13 pm

    All that dredging the bed of the tidal River Don round Fishlake would have done would have been to allow the sea to flow upstream since the bed is below sea level. Clearing the banks might have helped, a little bit. Major problem is lack of storage in the upstream, there are no water meadows and ever-increasing concrete and tarmac, plus new flood defences, so that when the unusually heavy rain fell on Sheffield it had nowhere to go but sideways in Fishlake.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      November 20, 2019 8:48 pm

      woobblog, er, are you forgetting two tides a day? Or have you joined the Monbiot School of Science that teaches that water can be made to flow uphill?

      If you manage rivers properly, then you also manage estuaries as well.

      The lesson from the 1953 floods on the Thames Estuary was the incredible power of nature. An extreme tidal flow, coupled with an easterly pushing a seasonal flow of water down from the North Sea against an outgoing tide, swelled by heavy rain on the upper reaches of the Thames. That was exceptional but repeated recently, about sixty-one years later, without any of the loss of life that occurred in 1953.

      The regular tragedies that occur when the Bay of Bengal floods have been mitigated by …
      … guess what … yes, that’s right …..
      … in part by better river management in the region, including the dredging of the estuaries.

  36. AR Clapham permalink
    November 24, 2019 11:12 am

    We had drainage engineers in the Fens who were very experienced and worked for the Great Ouse river Board, they were replaced by clipboard carriers of Dept of the Environment on the orders of our European Masters hopefully not for much longer I hope!!

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