Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Britain's floods: causes, costs and consequences
London (AFP) Dec 30, 2015

With more floods forecast Wednesday as Storm Frank sweeps in, Britain is asking whether its defences can deal with extreme weather events, with many accusing David Cameron's government of negligence.

What has happened?

In early December, Storm Desmond brought the country's first wave of heavy rain, with streets submerged in northwest England and 60,000 homes left without power.

The town of Honister in Cumbria recorded 341.4mm of rain in 24 hours, a new British rainfall record for a 24-hour period, while nearby Thirlmere recorded 405mm in 48 hours, a national record for a two-day period.

Just as it was recovering in time for the Christmas holidays, northern England was once again battered by high winds and heavy rains.

Much of the historic city of York was left under several feet of water while flooding also affected the northern cities of Leeds and Manchester.

A spell of dry weather has helped the clean-up operation, but Secretary of State for Environment Rory Stewart said he was "very concerned" by the imminent arrival of "Frank".

Why so much rain?

Britain has a long history of extreme rainfall events, the last of which dates back only two years. Some have been known to cause mass deaths, such as the 1953 floods that claimed more than 300 lives.

Environmental experts suspect the frequency of recent floods is partly down to man.

"Climate change has played an important part," said John Gummer, Chairman of Britain's independent Committee on Climate Change.

"These things might well have happened but climate change makes them more regular and much worse," he added.

What are the costs and consequences?

The most recent floods have inundated more than 6,700 buildings, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and forcing the government to call in army reinforcements, with 500 soldiers mobilised and 1,000 in reserve.

Combined with Storm Desmond, the damage could exceed 5 billion (6.7 billion euros, $7.4 billion), according to preliminary estimates by auditing firm KPMG.

Have the flood defences failed?

The British government has spent around 1.8 billion in recent years on flood defences designed to protect towns and villages.

However, Cameron has admitted that they have not been a total success, saying: "It's clear that in some cases they have been overtopped and overrun."

A prime example is the flood barrier at York, which became submerged by the rising water, disabling some of the electrical wiring inside.

Fearing all the pumps could be damaged, the authorities decided to temporarily open the barrier, causing further flooding and leading to the River Foss bursting its banks.

What is the political fallout?

"You would have thought David Cameron had learnt the lesson from the floods of 2013/14. Apparently not," said Justin Bowden of the GMB union, blaming cuts to the Environment Agency for the failings.

Natalie Bennett, leader of Britain's Green Party, accused Cameron of being "the modern equivalent of the Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned."

Cameron is not the only public servant in the line of fire, with the Daily Mail accusing Environment Agency chief Philip Dilley of "sunbathing" in the Caribbean "while Britain suffers its worst floods in decades".

Cameron defended himself as he put on his Wellington boots for a walk around York, saying the government would look at suggestions for extra defences.

What are the solutions?

David Rooke, an Environment Agency official, has called for a "complete rethink" about the threat of flooding, with nearly one in five houses now at risk, according to The National Association of Estate Agents.

Among the proposed solutions are improved warning systems, more use of waterproof construction materials and less deforestation.

"Ground floors of homes can be designed either to hold out water, or can be designed to anticipate water, which puts less stress on the structure of the building," Richard Coutts, an architect, told AFP, also citing the possibility of amphibious and floating homes.



Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
British bikers start anti-looting patrols after floods
Bradford, United Kingdom (AFP) Dec 29, 2015
A group of bikers led by a pub landlord from Yorkshire in northern England has begun night-time patrols of flood-ravaged towns and villages to scare off potential looters following reports of thefts. "We're big chaps, a lot of us. If people see us they're liable to go away," 57-year-old Lloyd Spencer, head of the Drifters motorcycle club told AFP on Tuesday before setting off for a third ni ... read more

British bikers start anti-looting patrols after floods

Families of Brazil mine spill victims offered $25,600

German navy 'rescued over 10,000 migrants' in 2015

Search ends for missing in Myanmar jade mine landslide: police

Nature's masonry: The first steps in how thin protein sheets form polyhedral shells

Move aside carbon: Boron nitride-reinforced materials are even stronger

Super strong, lightweight metal could build tomorrow's spacecraft

BAE Systems to provide radar support for U.S. Air Force

Large permanent reserves required for effective conservation of old fish

Philippine coastal zone research reveals tropical cyclone disruption of nutrient cycling

Corals may fare better in turbid waters, Florida Tech research finds

Ship tracks form letter A above Pacific

Geologic formation could hold clues to melting glacier floodwaters

An ice core study to determine the timing and duration of historical climate stages

Methane emissions in Arctic cold season higher than expected

Chile eyes construction of permanent Antarctica pier

China's COFCO to buy agri-arm of top Asian trader

How LED lighting treatments affect greenhouse tomato quality

Belgian chocolatier goes 'bean-to-bar' for best taste

Will grassland soil weather a change?

Floods claim 13 lives, force evacuation of US town

UK PM on spot over floods as Europe hit by freak weather

Deaths, mass evacuations in South America floods

Scores injured as powerful quake jolts Afghanistan, Pakistan

Mali pro-govt armed group accuses France of killing 4 fighters

Malawi suspends 63 civil servants over stolen US funds

Expanded use of yuan to help revive Zimbabwe's economy: Mugabe

U.K. to increase support for Nigerian armed forces to fight Boko Haram

Genomes of early Irish settlers sequenced

Same growth rate for farming, non-farming prehistoric people

How brain architecture leads to abstract thought

Scientists say face mites evolved alongside humans

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement