Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Flood defences are essential for economic growth of UK's Cornwall

This is Bristol (UK): It's now nearly a month since devastating floods hit Cornwall, causing road and rail routes to be closed and cutting off towns and villages. And it's less than four years since flooding caused havoc in Gloucestershire. Flooding at Tewkesbury's Mythe water treatment works left 140,000 homes without clean water for days and Castle Meads's electricity sub-station was shut down, leaving thousands without power.

Flooding on the M5 trapped thousands, with many others stranded on the rail network. These incidents were caused by intense rainfall. While we can't prevent the rain, we can minimise the impact that flooding has. And we must minimise it, because thanks to climate change, it is going to happen more often.

It's not just rain we have to be mindful of. We've also seen snow and ice in recent weeks. When this melts, we are faced with surface flooding. The effects of floods can paralyse our critical infrastructure, particularly our transport networks. The South West is already in a vulnerable position in terms of transport with major routes into the region limited. We are dependent on the M4 and M5 but when these fail – as they did during the summer floods of 2007 – we must rely on the A30/A303, most of which is a single carriageway….

River Amble Dam. The green bank at the centre of the photograph is an earth dam across the mouth of the River Amble Valley where it joins the Camel Estuary. Shot by Tony Atkin, Wikimedia Commons via Geograph UK, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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