We all know about the recent devastating floods but not everyone is aware of some of the reasons behind them.
These include the European Water Framework Directive which came into UK law in 2000. This has meant that dredging – a highly effective method of mitigating rising river levels – has virtually halted.
While not explicitly banned the circumstances in which it may be authorised are significantly limited and involve a lengthy assessment process. Any sediment removed from the river bed, which previously may have been used to raise the river banks, is now classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of.
This restriction on dredging has had a devastating impact, as sadly many many people personally found out last month, particularly in Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Furthermore, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy has led to widespread chopping down of trees to meet farm subsidy requirements. But chopping down our trees increases the risk of flooding as water sinks into the soil 67 times faster under trees than it does under grass.
The situation has also been aggravated by house building being allowed on flood plains. New figures show that new homes are being built in England’s highest-risk flood areas at almost twice the rate of housing outside flood plains.
The Environment Agency may consider that adequate protection is in place but the recent “unprecedented” floods may well became the norm meaning problems are being stored up for tomorrow.
The increasing need for more and more housing would not be such an issue but for uncontrolled immigration. So again another problem created by our EU membership. The answer is simple – we just leave the European Union.
Paul Nuttall MEP