Monday, 23 July 2007

KENT 'NOT READY FOR FLOOD IMPACTS'

Kent is very fortunate to have missed the worst impacts of severe rainfall in recent weeks, as the County is ill-prepared for floods. Kent Green Party notes many weaknesses in capacity to deal with floods, mainly due to Government and developer under-funding of essential infrastructure and building on flood plains. These deficiencies are part of a general neglect of the environment since 1997 (1).

Steve Dawe (2) notes: "Typically, Kent's local authorities only have one emergency planning officer and have continued to permit home building on flood plains. Drainage appears to be under-provided in new developments which often have large areas of impermeable surfaces promoting run off. Land flooded in 2000 at Bushy Royds, South Willesborough, Ashford, now has 470 homes on it. Drainage and flood protection for new developments needs to be provided at much higher standards. Building on flood plains must resisted altogether, or only be permitted where living spaces are well above potential areas of flooding, like many new apartment developments along the Medway at Tonbridge."

"Large housing developments like the Eastern Quarry's 6250 homes development at Dartford will not be realistically possible without pumping to prevent water levels rising, as at Bluewater. Practical difficulties in protecting very flood prone areas like Yalding have yet to be addressed. Building a reservoir at Broad Oak near Canterbury would add a new area of potential flooding to the Canterbury district, to add to the very flood prone St.Peters Place and the large new Tannery site development. Kent Green Party is also concerned that the massive lorry park planned for Dover could create sufficient run off, unless proper drainage is provided, to create major problems in the Dover area."

"Flood protection promised to Kent after the floods of 2000 has not been provided. The Government even ignored pressure from the Met Office this year concerning its prediction of very heavy rainfall. The Government has even been planning cuts at the Environment Agency and has reduced grants for solar panels which undermines household action against climate change. The lessons of floods past seem to be that the history of flooding has not been learned from, just as the Government's policy on climate change is utterly inadequate (3)."

Notes:
1. See for evidence: Neil Carter and David Ockwell New Labour, New Environment? An analysis of the Labour Government's policy on climate change and biodiversity loss (Centre for Ecology, Law and Policy University of York & Sussex Energy Group, Sussex University report for Friends of the Earth, July 2007). http://www.york.ac.uk/res/celp/webpages/projects/foe/fullreportfinal.pdf

2. South East Green Party Speaker on Housing, Planning and Development (joint), former lecturer in Environmental Policy and Speaker for Climate Concern.

3. Recent works suggest greater likelihood of a 'runaway greenhouse effect scenario' in which temperatures during this century rise by up to 6 degrees centigrade, with catastrophic effects. See for example: Mark Lynas Six Degrees.

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