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Locals Accuse Environment Agency Of Criminal Neglect For Linc Floods–Say Extreme Rain Used To Be Worse

December 8, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


Philip sent me this newsletter from Vine House farm, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, centre of the very wet weather seen this autumn:



The wet weather continues. For us, here in South Lincolnshire, it has been the wettest Summer and Autumn since 1880. We had a year’s rainfall (533mm/21ins) in five months, between June 7th and November 7th, and a further 76mm/3ins since then. 2019 is already the wettest year that I have recorded, with 725mm/28.5ins.  
In those five months in 1880, 660mm/26ins of rain fell. The River Glen burst its banks into Bourne South Fen and the River Welland breached near Crowland. A total of 939mm/37ins of rain fell that year. 
Our local drainage board started keeping rainfall records in 1829. During the first 60 recorded years, there were 15 years with over 762mm/30ins of rain. During the last 100 years, only two years were recorded with similar measurements of rain, so clearly we are getting less extreme events. The cause is that there is now more arable land, so more soil is getting washed into our rivers. This means rivers are getting shallower, their flow is reduced and, as we have more roads and houses, the quantity of water reaching the rivers is causing them to flood. The experts call it global warming and anticipate we will get more of these extreme events but here in South Lincolnshire we are getting fewer extreme events than we used to. 
Who are these experts and what do they know about drainage? During the last week in November I went North from here in Lincolnshire to the River Witham, a river controlled by the Environment Agency. I was appalled at its condition – it is very shallow as it has not been cleared out for 30 years. Many trees were growing along its edge, their branches in the water slowing the flow.  The Environment Agency expect it will burst its banks at some time but they do nothing while the trees get bigger and the river gets shallower. I call it criminal neglect. On Friday 29th November the Martin Delph, a tributary of the River Witham, burst its banks overflowing into Martin Fen.  

When anyone builds a house or a road in our drainage board district, that person has to pay some money to the drainage board. If it is a big enough housing estate that money will pay for the widening of a dyke, or drain, to the nearest pumping station, so ensuring that we can always take the water away in wet times.
Are the pumps big enough? I know they are because my Uncle, Ray Pick OBE, chairman of our local drainage board, installed some really big pumps in 1967 and not all of them have been used at the same time this summer. This means we have plenty of pumping capacity for the 80,000 acres (126sq.miles) we look after.

Nicholas Watts makes two telling comments:


  • Extremely wet weather used to be much more common in the past, notably in 1880
  • The disgraceful neglect of drainage systems by the Environment Agency – criminal neglect he describes it.

His claims about historical rainfall trends are borne out by Met Office data.

Sadly the local rainfall records he talks about are not published, but we do have the regional data, which goes back to 1873. The Central area most closely corresponds to the area affected by the recent floods, including Lincs, Notts and S Yorks:

 Region definitions for EWP


Using the meteorological year data, as obviously we don’t have December’s figures yet, we can see that year ranks 9th wettest. The wettest were 1877 and 1912, tied at 864.5mm.

Noticeable is the predominance of wet years from 1875 to 1883, four of which were wetter than this year.

As the series starts in 1873, we have no figures for 1872, which nationally was the wettest since 1766, on the England & Wales series. It is highly likely that 1872 would also be one of the wettest in Central England.




As for autumn rainfall alone, the pattern is not dissimilar. Again, we find a run of exceptionally wet autumns from 1875 to 1885.

1875, 2000 and 1960 are ranked higher than this autumn.



As Nicholas says, “clearly we are getting less extreme events”.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    December 8, 2019 5:21 pm

    The government, Mps and the Civil Service will never admit to being wrong.

    • tom0mason permalink
      December 9, 2019 8:02 am

      Indeed, as Sir Humphrey Appleby said, and I quote —
      ” Well Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn’t very much in it one way or the other. As far as one can see, at this stage.”
      And further explained by Principal Private Secretary Bernard Woolley:
      “And Minister, although there may be some slight discrepancy vis-a-vis statements published and the state of the actuality, these are, in the view of 97% of academia including the Royal Society, inconsequential.”

  2. GeoffB permalink
    December 8, 2019 5:38 pm

    Do not confuse me with the facts…My mind is made up….its global warming.

    • December 9, 2019 12:55 am

      I agree

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      December 9, 2019 4:47 pm

      Just like the flooding on the Somerset levels. Actually total idiocy by the EA.

  3. December 8, 2019 6:00 pm

    BBC 1 now The name of the flooded farm is “Short Ferry Farm”
    … that sounds like its been a traditionally waterless area .. NOT

    • December 8, 2019 6:06 pm

      I didn’t hear the words Climate Change in the Countryfile item
      Farmer Henry did mention it on the radio, but he’s only 28.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        December 8, 2019 7:27 pm

        Very odd. This C-File segment seemed to be a rehash of last week’s climate change fest starting with the boat pick-up at the farm, but as you say, this time the usual words were missing and the farmer cited dredging and bank maintenance as important, and that if the environment agency wanted to use the land as flood relief, he would happily be paid for it.

        Perhaps the repeated face of disbelief and exclamations of ‘this SHOULD be arable land’, and the shaking of head by the presenter, was considered reinforcement enough?

        It was patently ridiculous, before the land was engineered, to provide farmland with the river contained as a raised embanked waterway – what do they think the land was – flood plain obviously. It’s not a result of climate change, it’s a result of neglect allowing nature to reclaim itself.

      • Phil O'Sophical permalink
        December 9, 2019 1:24 pm

        But by the BBC law that it must appear at least once in every programme, they did mention it in the segment about planting a new wood.

    • roger permalink
      December 8, 2019 10:49 pm

      I heard that too – on Country File and thought immediately as you did.
      The old idiot presenter was completely oblivious to the import of what had just been said.
      The BBC Board is made up of fools and employs fools in it’s image.
      After the Somerset Levels debacle the EA has done nothing and the people of Fishlake and their insurers should sue for reparations

  4. charles wardrop permalink
    December 8, 2019 7:09 pm

    Stuff the EU’s anti-dredging regs.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      December 9, 2019 4:48 pm

      Stuff the EUSSR, totally.

      • charles wardrop permalink
        December 10, 2019 10:08 am

        It and our UK remainders are antidemocratic, as were those who orchestrated our “membership”.

  5. December 8, 2019 7:32 pm

    Clearly, as you would expect, global warming is leading to fewer extreme rainfall events. Things were much worse in the Little Ice Age and in its aftermath until things warmed up. Jetstream anyone?

    You have to wonder if the Environment Agency is deliberately neglecting its function or if it is just incompetence. Certainly around here the EA is regarded as totally incompetent.

    • Mack permalink
      December 8, 2019 7:54 pm

      Good spot Phillip. Very informative newsletter. As the author makes clear, the flooding issues are clearly a result of inept land/water management. Definitely anthropogenic in origin but bugger all to do with climate change or an increase in extreme, unprecedented or, indeed, unexpected weather events as Paul also makes clear. Sadly, all too often, our incompetent bureaucrats scream ‘climate change’ to cover up their own incompetence.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      December 8, 2019 9:35 pm

      It’s a fact of history that as the weather cooled after the Roman warm period (after AD400 by perhaps 1.5C) it became significantly wetter (perhaps 10%), such that quite widely, roads had to be built up and sometimes even raised up on stilts above new marshland.

      I learnt that from a pre-insanity BBC archaeology program. Also confirmed by the likes of HHLamb.

      • Mack permalink
        December 9, 2019 8:30 am

        Indeed, it seems that none of our political or environmental masters appear to have any knowledge or understanding of history, be it human, geological or climatological, that occurred before the ‘X Factor’ era. A cynic might suggest that such ignorance is deliberate and masks some hidden agenda as, surely, they can’t all be that stupid, could they?

    • Phi O'Sophical permalink
      December 9, 2019 1:29 pm

      I thought much of it was due to our forced compliance with the EU’s ignorantly broad rewinding directives.

  6. markl permalink
    December 8, 2019 8:17 pm

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    • Eddie P. permalink
      December 8, 2019 8:42 pm

      But there are those who are having a damn good try at doing it – St. Greta for one.

    • December 9, 2019 12:54 am

      Problem is, you don’t need to fool all the people, even some of the time – just enough of the people enough of the time.

  7. Steve permalink
    December 8, 2019 10:25 pm

    The EA is staffed by mollusc heads who follow EU directives with religious fervour. Dredging a river and putting the silt on the fields is pollution and they prefer to let the land return to its ancient use, ie swamp.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 9, 2019 2:35 pm

      But that’s how the EU works. It drowns organisations in regulations and so anybody who ether thinks for themselves or doesn’t always trust the EU never goes near those organisations. You end up with the entire staff just being mindless drones, following the EU regs without thought or concern.

      I’m sure the Met Office and other places ahave suffered the same fate because of Climate Change. Once they become dogma-driven, nobody of quality stays there.

  8. Steve permalink
    December 8, 2019 10:32 pm

    Off topic, in London the moon is shining through high mist to produce a halo with a rainbow colour from outside inwards. Recently the moon was low, near the horizon, but now it is high. This is quick change in elevation is new to myself and an explanation from an expert would be welcome.

    • Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
      December 9, 2019 3:18 am

      Regarding Moon’s maneuvers:

      Try this:
      And this:

      If you go to E. M. Smith’s [Musings from the Chiefio] site and scroll down, watch for a search box on the right side; then copy and paste the following:

      Lunar Standstill

      There will be 4 postings found, I think.
      His discussion and the comments may provide interesting reading if you care to follow along.
      Hope this helps.

      • Steve permalink
        December 9, 2019 6:56 am


  9. December 9, 2019 1:10 am

    The non weather variables of floods overlooked by climate scientists. If scientists they are.

    • tom0mason permalink
      December 9, 2019 8:14 am

      Very good! 👍

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 9, 2019 2:44 pm

      Event attribution is utterly bogus for the simple reason that we don’t have anywhere near enough reliable knowledge of the Climate. I can tell if a dice is biased through a series of throws, because I know it has six sides. But how can I tell if a dice is biased if I have no knowledge of how many sides it has and what numbers are on each side?

      As for something being “more likely” to happen if there’s Climate Change because the models say so…the model with Climate Change does what it is programmed to do!. And amazingly enough, the assumptions about what happens to the Climate if there’s Climate Change are part of the programming. So the model simply “proves” that the programming is correct, by making say heatwaves more common. To claim that then shows that Climate Chnage makes heatwaves more common is simply Begging the Question.

  10. Michael Adams permalink
    December 9, 2019 11:04 am

    In 2001, i think it was, the river running through our village broke its banks. It was nowhere as bad as they’ve had up north but damage was done. The EA duly arrived and we had a conversation on what could be done to avert future flooding. Dredging and generally keeping the river tidy was out of the question as the EA’s main/sole duty was to not to interfere with wildlife habitat. Its a fairly shallow river so they suggested that a few deeper pools could be created as habitats for the trout but beyond that nothing was done. They didn’t dig the pools either.

    Fortunately our river hasn’t flooded since but it can only be a matter of time. My experience is similar to what the author relates and I conclude that the EA is still regarding wildlife habitat as being more important than human safety.

  11. December 9, 2019 3:04 pm

    Ah OK , each day as I scan newspapers I don’t have enough time to write it up on the internet.
    I have a note from Nov 23 rd
    that an article claimed that eastern England rain is less in recent decades so watertable is lower.
    (So that correlates to these Lincolnshire claims .. as as to why the EA and BBC were worried about drought in the Spring)

    I think its in the Times @BenMacintyre1  article about the demise of the London plane trees.
    “The London plane has boosted our wellbeing for centuries so let’s save it from disease and vandalism
    A simple hedge around a school park can halve pollution levels. *
    According to an article published by The Lancet this month, trees in towns substantially increase life expectancy, reducing stress and lowering the risk of death from heart disease, cancer and dementia. **
    … The plane can grow in the thinnest soil. Planted in their thousands in…”

    * & ** I tend not to believe such hyperbolic claims.
    and the Lancet has a reputation for printing climate junk.

  12. December 9, 2019 3:48 pm

    The River Witham in Boston spilled over its banks this November. I’ve never seen it that high before. It is controlled by a sluice which drains into the tidal Welland which obviously is opened only at low tide. When I arrived, the sluice gates were closed, but they were opened soon after and the level went down fairly rapidly thereafter. The River Glen also came fairly close to bursting its banks. It too is controlled by a tidal sluice. The Glen in particular is quite choked with reeds now. I doubt whether it is ever dredged and cleared, unlike the many dykes which drain the farmland, which are fairly well maintained.

  13. john cooknell permalink
    December 9, 2019 8:58 pm

    The Internal Drainage Board for the area is below, it is not just the EA others like the Coal Mining Authority, local councils and all sorts of well meaning people including lots of our “green” friends!

    If you take time to read the minutes, membership etc and their strategy reports, you will find they have not enough resources, no power to do much, even less will to change anything, and a big thank you for climate change alarmists who take the responsibility away.

    In reality they gave up some years ago.

  14. john cooknell permalink
    December 9, 2019 9:31 pm

    The quality of political oversight of things is indicated in this minute from the Internal Drainage Board

    “Below is a letter from Chair and Vice-Chair of Ancholme IDB addressed to the Chair
    8 November 2019
    Dear Chairman,
    IDB Telemetry (Controlstar Systems Ltd.)
    It is with regret that we write to all former customers of Controlstar Systems Ltd. as the
    company has gone into Liquidation.
    The Ancholme IDB has taken the opportunity to purchase the Assets of the company
    excluding liabilities and contracts, but including Intellectual Property of the SCADA system,
    with an overall aim of maintaining visibility for all IDB Risk Management Authorities utilising
    the system.
    The Do-Nothing scenario would have resulted in immediate loss of visibility across all
    pumping stations and remote sensors in 11 Drainage Districts. That loss would bring
    cessation of pump failure notifications, an increase in physical visits to sites where issues
    would need to be found on a reactive basis, loss of ability to report to LLFA under Section
    19 of the Flood & Water Management Act 2010; it was our estimate that an alternative
    would take 12-18 months to put in place.
    The Ancholme IDB has made the necessary payments for the external servers to continue
    to provide visibility for all IDBs. The Board is looking to continue to provide visibility to
    SCADA for the next 16 months with software support to at least provide each Risk
    Management Authority a reasonable timeframe to consider any alternatives.
    The longevity of the software is to be reviewed. In the meantime, Ancholme IDB is unable
    to currently offer the level of technical support provided by Controlstar in terms of hardware
    issues. If required, your Board would need to source that support independently.
    The unfortunate events of the company going into liquidation has potentially presented an
    opportunity for IDBs as Risk Management Authorities to reduce or eliminate the risk of a
    private company owning the interface facilitating cost-effective Water Level Management
    and a similar situation arising again.”

    Isn’t it good to know flood management infrastructure is looked after so well !

  15. john cooknell permalink
    December 9, 2019 10:08 pm

    Our very local flood problems emanate from Capability Brown, who diverted the local brook channel up the hill a bit so he could get a reliable feed to his ornamental lake some 2 miles away. He achieved that very well.

    So whenever the brook channel capacity is exceeded the resulting flooding of the original lower lying watercourse land is sudden and spectacular. In the 1980’s flood drought the local council built the village Infants school right in the middle of this, against local advice, they did raise it up some 600mm but all too often it looks like it is at sea.

    However, the Climate Emergency has saved the Council blushes, and now with very scientific flood modelling they have proved it is all down to climate change, but now want to build a car park on the land, I am sure that will all be OK, after all what could possibly go wrong.

  16. December 10, 2019 11:51 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Climate change is the usual go to excuse for incompetent bureaucracy. It’s not like we don’t have history to go on.

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