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High-magnitude flooding across Britain since AD 1750

June 8, 2021

By Paul Homewood


 Perhaps if the Environment Agency really want to understand the changing risks of flooding to dams and other infrastructure, they should look to the past instead of the Met Office’s computer models:






For a number of years, flood risks have been based on data beginning in the 1960s, a period well recognised by experts as “flood dry”. According to one of them, Professor Stuart Lane:


“We entered a generally flood-poor period in the 1960s, earlier in some parts of the country, later in others. This does not mean there was no flooding, just that there was much less than before the 1960s and what we are seeing now. This has lowered our own awareness of flood risk in the UK. This has made it easier to go on building on floodplains. It has also helped us to believe that we can manage flooding without too much cost, simply because there was not that much flooding to manage.”

He added: “We have also not been good at recognising just how flood-prone we can be. More than three-quarters of our flood records start in the flood-poor period that begins in the 1960s. This matters because we set our flood protection in terms of return periods – the average number of years between floods of a given size. We have probably under-estimated the frequency of flooding, which is now happening, as it did before the 1960s, much more often that we are used to.

“The problem is that many of our decisions over what development to allow and what defences to build rely upon a good estimate of these return periods.”

  1. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    June 8, 2021 9:21 am

    Build on flood plains, cut down trees upstream, concrete over ‘sponges’. Can’t imagine why there’s more flood damage…..

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 8, 2021 9:35 am

      Don’t dredge rivers, allow overgrowth that narrows them…

      What could go wrong?

      • bobn permalink
        June 8, 2021 11:54 am

        Seen an interesting comparison of stream management in Wiltshire. 2 neighbouring farms with cows and a stream. One farmer continues the ancient practice of letting the cows wander into the stream as they please. The stream is open, clean, free running and relatively weed free. The neighbour has adopted the green edits of keeping cattle away from water courses. The stream is narrowed, silted, weed clogged so you cant see the water for the plant growth.
        The natural approach is to let animals roam free and naturally keep streams unclogged.

      • permalink
        June 12, 2021 11:32 pm

        bobn: current policy widely adopted within many Scottish rivers is to restrict livestock access. This dates from about the early 90s tho probably from before. Apparently, studies demonstrate(d) increased sedimentation

        Meantime (for instance), there was a 32 x 2 MW wind ‘farm’ (Braes O’ Doune) got the goahead producing many tons of load involving subsequent prosecution.

        Did it matter too much to the landowner, the Earl of Moray? Maybe not given he’d just accumulated £1.1 million for one years’ hillside rental!

        How ‘cool’ might it be to open the curtains of a morning to know gov-pledged £3K that day is shoved into ones coffers? It’s no wonder there’s a strongly supportive industry.purposefully enabling such criminality – cos that’s what it is in real effect.

  2. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 8, 2021 9:38 am

    “Statistically significant relationships between the the British Flood Index, the Atlantic Meridional Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation Index are identified.”

    The Climate Pope won’t like that.

    Weird that things that don’t exist correlate well with things that happen.

  3. cookers52 permalink
    June 8, 2021 10:02 am

    Flooding has complex causes, rainfall amounts are only one aspect.

    My experience, as somebody who is at risk of flooding, is that all our watercourses are man made constructs, very little is natural.

    We change things all the time, by action or inaction and the flood modellors do their best but the data set is constantly changing.

    The planning system has been designed to ALLOW building on flood plains, because there is nowhere else.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      June 8, 2021 10:34 am

      I have never seen a huge problem with new build on flood plains, provided you build out the risk. It would not be hard, or expensive, to raise the houses slightly off ground level, a metre would be enough in most places. So the floods come, OK the garden is a wreck but the house isn’t touched. Oh, and everything you stored ‘under the house’ needs a wash.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 8, 2021 10:48 am

        But that would fail to comply with building regulations that require ALL houses to be accessible by people in wheelchairs.

      • cookers52 permalink
        June 8, 2021 1:49 pm

        Unfortunately for us building 600mm raised off the flood plain is exactly what was done for 1990’s development

        The older housing estates now floods whereas it never flooded beforehand. The water has to go somewhere! The council initially tried all sorts of things to correct the mistake, however blaming it all on climate change is far less expensive.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 8, 2021 1:48 pm

      Nowhere else? Less than 10% of the UK is built on.

      We build on flood plains because they are generally pretty nice places.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 8, 2021 2:52 pm

        They also tend to be on the edge of towns so it puts the new houses near to infrastructure but of course they are there to stop the towns from flooding so guess what happens next…..

  4. Gerry, England permalink
    June 8, 2021 10:52 am

    The mention of models highlights a post on GWPF about a paper that has looked at the CIMP5 models – over 3 dozen of them (that’s 36 for young readers) – and found that only a few (from Russia by any chance) model the North Atlantic accurately and yet on these rubbish models the plans the end western civilization is based.

  5. Chris permalink
    June 8, 2021 11:38 am

    If you want to know where it will flood read the village names, the road names, the environment agency prefer their models.

    Sent by CJ Matchette-Downes


  6. Jack Broughton permalink
    June 8, 2021 11:44 am

    According to the ultra-gullible “i” yesterday, the 1.5 deg K temperature rise that is now “locked-in” guarantees that the flood risk will increase by 100%, (at 2 deg K rise it will be 170 %). It is a pity they don’t read the papers that you cite! The “i”‘s gullible climate reporters give all sorts of speculative (but sincerely claimed as proven) effects of the 1.5 and 2 deg K scenarios: e.g. 70% of coral reefs will be lost by 2050 at 1.5 deg K, all at 2 deg K. At 1.5 deg K rise, the Arctic ice will exceed 0 Wadhams for another 100 years though.

    The scientific-nonsense of these claims is so obvious (and has been exposed on this site so often), that one cannot see how they are not censored, but this is all part of the brainwashing that is being engineered on our society.
    This only goes to show that: Climate science = science fiction.

  7. 1saveenergy permalink
    June 8, 2021 11:48 am

    Malcolm Nunn used to do talks & tours of Sheffield’s Great Flood of March 1864′ that killed 240 & devastated the Loxley valley

    Back in 1990s I was part of the group that stopped Little Matlock Wheel at Loxley, being demolished, got it listed as Grade 2* & kept it going as a hand operated rolling mill.

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 8, 2021 2:51 pm

    There was of course this

    Even flood drought years can produce some exceptional flooding.

  9. June 11, 2021 1:56 pm

    There are some good historical ‘Flood Marks’ at flood prone locations around the country; the river Severn at Upton on Severn is a well known one. Especially the parish church tower. Most of the locks along the River Thames have marks cut in to the stone work showing flood levels reached – many of which were significantly worse than those which excite comment today. – is informative.

    It is a pity that ‘The Media’ are so reluctant to use real data in their narrative.

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