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Deluge dilemma: UK lacks flood funds to protect both town & country

Published time: February 03, 2014 09:28
A village flanked by flooded fields is pictured near Curload in Somerset, southwest England, on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

A village flanked by flooded fields is pictured near Curload in Somerset, southwest England, on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

The UK will be forced to choose between towns or the countryside in the struggle to protect against the worst floods in over 50 years. The Environmental Agency has warned the funds simply do not exist to safeguard against the rising floodwaters.

Following a week of floods that have left large swathes of the UK underwater, the chairman of the Environmental Agency has said Britain faces difficult choices on which areas it wants to defend.

“There’s no bottomless purse of money, and we need to make difficult but sensible choices about where and what we try to protect,” Lord Smith of Finsbury told the Telegraph on Sunday.

As a result, the chairman said the authorities will have to prioritize on which areas they protect from the rising waters, as the government does not have the money to safeguard both urban and rural areas.

A tractor carries local residents along a flooded road from the village of Thorney on the Somerset Levels, near Langport in south west England January 30, 2014. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

Addressing allegations that the government has dealt poorly with the crisis situation, the chairman likened the freak weather to the floods of 1953 which resulted in the death of over 300 people. There is no “quick fix” for the situation, he said.

The agency estimates that this weekend’s storms left a further 180 homes in Southwest England underwater, adding to the 1,700 homes that have been affected by flooding in December and January. Winds of over 70mph (113kph) coupled with high tides buffeted the south coast this weekend, prompting the Environmental Agency to issue over 350 flood alerts.

Moreover, the authorities have urged British citizens to brace for more flooding as torrential rains are forecast to continue well into February.

"Strong winds and high waves could cause flooding along the whole of the south coast on Tuesday and into Wednesday,” said the agency in a statement.

A boat operated by emergency services personnel carries local residents along a flooded road from the village of Muchelney on the Somerset Levels, near Langport in south west England January 31, 2014. (Reuters/Toby Melville)

‘Lynch mob’

The conservative government has come under fire for its treatment of the floods, with local MPs accusing David Cameron’s government of not acting soon enough.

The critics prompted Cameron to intervene personally, overruling the Environmental Agency to send troops into the county of Somerset to aid in delivering food, transporting people and distributing sandbags. The PM admitted the situation was “unacceptable” and said that dredging would begin as soon as the area was safe.

"We are urgently exploring what further help the government can give local residents to move around and I rule nothing out in the days ahead to get this problem sorted,” the PM said in a statement last week.

Meanwhile, Tory minister Ken Clarke likened the criticism to a “lynch mob” that had been taken out of context by media hysteria.

“This is the winter. It is wet. It has rained. It may be made worse by climate change,” said Clarke to the BBC.

A car is driven on a road surrounded by flooded fields near Curload in Somerset, southwest England, on February 1, 2014. (AFP Photo/Carl Court)

Comments (26)

 

mergon 21.02.2014 12:50

On a more serious note if your vehicle has been standing in water with the water over the brakes beware because brake fluid is Hygroscopic that means it likes to draw water
so your brake fluid will be full of water ,if you drive the vehicle the water will cause the fluid to expand when the brakes get hot and they will jam on !

Another item is the diff and gear box have breathers if they go under water the water will get inside and cause havoc , and if the exhaust has been under water your engine lights will come on because the cat converter is damaged due to dirty water .
so dont buy a cheap flood car !

 

Ahmed Mukhtar 13.02.2014 12:01

Mr Cameron know well to invest in Afghanistan for its mines but does not want to spend in flooding in his oun country

 

Travis 04.02.2014 10:58

Ha! Camorons downfall!!!..he will lose the vote from the brainwashed middleclasse,& the next elections now for sure.. bye bye Camoron you liberal,marxist ,dictator!!!!..ha!

View all comments (26)
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