Friday, 7 February 2014

The UK's Somerset Levels Floods and Crocodile Tears

" .. Flooding: a synergy between "green" ideologues and Brussels .. "
Richard North 13th February 2014

(see Appendix A, Note 12)


2014-07-15 Added a reference to Owen Paterson's April 2013 comment " .. the purpose of waterways is to get rid of water .. ”.
2014-06-09/10 Added the header picture and Appendix A, Notes 12) and 13).


As has been widely reported by the UK media the 2013/14 winter storms have had a catastrophic impact upon many occupants of the Somerset Levels. On 3rd February 2014 Prince Charles paid a visit to the flooded Somerset Levels and it is reported that Charles Hignett, chairman of the Country Landowners and Business Association's Somerset Branch, said " .. I think the Prince of Wales was listening, he was in a listening mode. I am quite sure he understands the issues very well." (

On 7th February 2014 the visit by Lord (Chris) Smith, Chairman of the Environmental Agency ( enjoyed a less enthusiastic welcome (Appendix A, Note 4). His proposal to get started doing some dredging during the coming months was greeted with derision by locals who were asking why it had taken so long to reach the conclusion that this was a solution to the problem. During his visit (following that of Lord Smith) David Cameron said it was "wrong" to stop dredging in the Levels in the 1990s, adding: "We need to get dredging again .. Everything that can be done, will be done and I'll make sure that happens. There are always lessons to learn and I'll make sure they are learned. I've said that when the water-levels are down and it's safe to dredge, to make sure that these rivers and these ditches can carry a better capacity of water .. " (

Listening, understanding, reacting and learning are all very well but what is it that has been done to cause such horrendous flooding knowing full-well that the area is prone to such events. What could and should have been done to minimise the impact and what can be done now to minimise the risk of it happening again? (see also Appendix A, Note 13)

Could the answer be in what David Cameron had said during Prime Minister's Questions on 5th February that " .. From the late 1990s – far too long – the Environment Agency believed that it was wrong to dredge. Those of us with rural constituencies affected by flooding have seen the effectiveness of some dredging. Now if it is good for some places, we need to make the argument that it would be good for many more places. I have said that we are going to see dredging on the [rivers] Tone and the Parrett in the Somerset Levels because that would make a difference. But I believe it is time for Natural England, the Environment Agency and the departments to sit round the table and work out a new approach that will make sure that something that did work, frankly, for centuries is reintroduced .. ” (

That all sounds rather belated, considering that dredging had been proven in use for centuries to make a significant contribution to providing protection from flooding of the Somerset Levels and elsewhere so why on earth was it stopped?

Only one month before his visit to the area David Cameron was reported to have declared in the House of Commons that " .. I very much suspect .. that such .. abnormal weather events .. were linked to “climate change .. ”. History suggests that his suspicions are unfounded (see Appendix A, Note 3 and Section 4.0 POLITICIANS, FLOODS and CACC).

Respected journalist and author Christopher Booker, who is sceptical of the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change hypothesis (Appendix A, Notes 1 and 2), started his article "Flooding chaos is down to David Cameron, not climate change" with the comment that " .. The Environment Agency's failure to dredge clogged-up rivers is causing floods .. " and went on to say that " .. There is no doubt that a central part of this problem lies in the refusal of the Government’s own Environment Agency, since it took overall responsibility for draining the Levels in 1995, to dredge the main rivers, which are so clogged up that they can no longer carry away the run-off from flooding .. ". Fingering Cameron for the flooding is fair enough but other politicians and their appointees are equally culpable.

Owen Paterson came in for a lot of criticism after the winter 2013/2014 flooding on the Somerset Levels but is this justified? Let us not forget that it was he who told the South West Agricultural Conference in April 2013 that “ .. "A directive went out from EA in 2006 that low risk agricultural water courses were not to be touched. A misguided idea that this was helping wildlife. I want to make it as easy as possible for land owners to get a licence to carry out local maintenance. The purpose of waterways is to get rid of water .. " ( I suspect that a lot of farmers and homeowners affected by the flooding would agree, but not, it seems, anglers or environmentalists

Angler's Mail had this to say following Owen Paterson's wise words " .. Dredging rivers can have a very severe impact on fish and other wildlife by removing gravels, woody debris and aquatic plants that are all vital parts of fish habitat.  These features provide the places for fish to lay their eggs, find their food and to escape from predators.  Removing them means that fish cannot breed, feed or hide, and the populations suffer as a result... " ( Dredging the rivers may be very sad for those fish populations but it sure is good news for the human populations who experience severe flooding when dredging is stopped.

Perhaps Prince Charles, Lord Smith, David Cameron and the rest of those who have been putting in an appearance at the Somerset Levels during February 2014 have not read the article "EU policy: deliberately flooding the Somerset Levels" ( and follow-up articles by respected political commentator Dr. Richard North (Appendix A, Notes 2 and 9). If not then they might benefit from giving them careful consideration.

Dr. North starts his article with " .. It is all very well for Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, to prattle on about 'difficult choices' .. But the flooding crisis over which he is presiding is one which he, at the behest of the EU, has deliberately allowed to happen. Allowing the flooding of the Levels was a matter of EU policy, introduced by a 2007 Directive and consciously adopted by the Environment Agency in 2008, which then sought to increase the frequency of flooding in the area .. ".

Following his usual careful presentation of the facts, Dr. North concludes " .. Thus, when the BBC reported that the government had been "slow to act", it could not have been more wrong.  Our true government, the EU, had been there years before, planning to make the disaster that has overtaken the people of that part of Somerset a routine occurrence. The flooding was not so much man-made as made by government. By the time Owen Peterson arrived to try to deal with the situation, he was years too late. Between the EU, the previous Labour government and the Environment Agency, the damage had already been done .. ".

Before following up on Dr. North's findings lets take a brief look at the history of flooding in the Somerset Levels in order to put some perspective on the devastating 2013/2014 winter floods. In doing so it is worthwhile remembering that the centuries-old name given to the area in question - Somerset - derives from the old/middle-English words "somer " (variant of "sumor" and Danish "sommer") meaning "summer" and "saete" (variant of old-Norse "saeti") meaning "a seat, a residence" ( i.e. somewhere to live or settle in the Summer!!! (see also Appendix A, Note 12).


"The oldest man living does not remember such great floods and so much water. Everything beyond Bridgwater is like a sea" - not a quote from 2014 but from 1809!!! (

" .. The area is prone to winter floods of fresh water and occasional salt water inundations. The worst in recorded history was the Bristol Channel floods of 1607, which resulted in the drowning of an estimated 2,000 or more people, houses and villages swept away, an estimated 200 square miles (518 km2) of farmland inundated, and livestock killed. Another severe flood occurred in 1872–1873, when over 107 square miles (277 km2) were underwater from October to March. .. the Somerset Levels have a temperate climate, which is generally wetter and milder than the rest of the country .. November to March have the highest mean wind speeds .. The Moors and Levels, formed from a submerged and reclaimed landscape .. In the Middle Ages, the monasteries .. were responsible for much of the drainage. In 1129, the Abbot of Glastonbury was recorded as inspecting enclosed land at Lympsham. Efforts to control flooding on the Parrett were recorded around the same date."(

The June 2012 summary report on the "Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan" (PCFMP) by the Environmental Agency's South West Regional Director Richard Cresswell acknowledged the long history of flooding in the area and said " .. The most recent significant flood in the Parrett catchment was the autumn/winter flooding of 2000, the worst since October 1960. Flood defences built in Taunton and elsewhere since 1960 have reduced the risk of flooding. Despite these works approximately 350 properties were flooded in the River Parrett catchment and extensive flooding of the Somerset Levels and Moors occurred .. "

That indicates that there is nothing surprising about the occurrence of heavy rainfall, high winds, storm surges, etc. with the attendant high level risk of catastrophic flooding over Somerset Levels and the benefits of having in place adequate flood prevention measures, including regular and sustained dredging.  So the big question is why was the area unprepared for such a recurrence in the winter of 2013/2014? Water management activities have been going on in the area for centuries so what went wrong recently?

Dr. North's article points towards the probable problem - the EU and subserviant UK Governments (past and present), the UK's Environment Agency, the environmentalists and the PCFMP (

3.0 The "Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan"

At the beginning of February 2014 it was widely reported in the media that Ian Liddell-Grainger, Conservative MP for Bridgwater in Somerset, had complained about the Environment Agency's failure to dredge the River Parrett, saying " .. They (the Environment Agency) need to dredge these rivers, stop spending money – £31 million – on bird sanctuaries and spend £5 million, that’s all we want, to sort this out .. " (e.g. see

On 8th February Mr. Liddell-Grainger was very critical of the head of the Environment Agency. When questioned by a BBC News reporter at the mouth of the River Parrett in Bridgewater he said “ .. I think there are two parts to the Environment Agency. The people who have been manning the pumps .. they’re working incredible hours. They’re working incredibly hard. They’re absolute tigers. What we have our angst about is Chris Smith and his arrogance yesterday when he came down, started his tour in a bird sanctuary and that was the highlight. It went down hill from there He just hasn’t got a clue .. ”.

Mr. Liddell-Grainger confirmed that he had called Lord Smith “ .. a coward and a little git .. ”, going on to say “ .. I’m furious. He spent £31 million at the mouth of this river on a bird sanctuary yet he won’t get us £5 million to dredge this very river to give us 40% more capacity so that we can alleviate some of the flooding .. ”.

The river in question is the Parrett and in March 2008 the Environment Agency issued its “Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan Consultation Draft (v5)”. That document does make mention of both dredging and birds, the first mention of dredging being not about protecting the area from flooding but as a “ .. Potentially destabilising phenomena (PDP) .. ” (, Section 2.4.2 Sediment system). The body of that document (i.e. excluding the Appendices) talks about dredging only three more times and then only in passing. On the other hand the document has more than enough to say about birds, such as:
- “ .. Prolonged summer flooding can also pose a significant threat to ground nesting birds .. ”,
- “ .. Several sites within the catchment are designated .. at a European level .. including a requirement for appropriate assessment under the Birds and Habitats Directives .. ”,
- “ .. The Somerset Levels and Moors .. are designated .. under the Ramsar Convention for Wetlands of International Importance .. Designated features include .. A bird assemblage of international importance .. ”, 
- “ .. Wintering bird populations are highly dependent on a mosaic of floodwater and grassland, with a variety of flood conditions each suiting different species .. ”,
- “ .. The Somerset Levels and Moors is designated as an SPA under the European ‘Birds Directive’ .. ”,
- “ .. landowners can be compensated for .. providing flooded land in winter for water birds .. ”.

Humans do get a mention in the PCFMP (see also Appendix A, Note 9) but appear to have been relegate by the Environment Agency to a much lower level of significance than birds and the natural environment - its statement at the foot of its web-pages is no casual remark "Environment First"!! (see Appendix A, Note 8 and Appendix C - The EA and CFMPs)

The PCFMP was signed off by the South West Regional Director on the 24 December 2008 and was agreed by the Wessex Regional Flood Defence Committee on 7 July 2008
( The South West Regional Director is one Dr. Richard Cresswell ( a zoologist who has had more than enough to say about climate change and our use of fossil fuels:
- Aug. 2008 “The impacts of global climate change .. are at the forefront of everybody’s agenda. It is time for the Convergence Programmes to play, and be seen to play, a key role in helping stimulate a lower carbon economy .. ”
- Dec. 2009 “ .. Using water more efficiently makes a significant contribution to meeting national targets for reduced carbon emissions and will ensure there is adequate water for our valued and diverse wildlife .. South West regional actions will enable .. The water environment to be restored, protected and improved so that habitats and species can better adapt to climate change .. Sustainable, low carbon solutions to be adopted .. Ensure water supply and demand is resilient to the effects of climate change .. Reduce carbon emissions associated with the supply of water .. Water use in the home accounts for about six per cent of UK carbon emissions .. If each person in the South West reduced their water use by 20 litres a day we could save 264,442 tonnes of carbon every year .. ”
- March 2010 “ .. The region aims to be a world leader in the transition to a low carbon economy. The Government has recognised the region as the UK’s first low carbon economy zone, putting it at the forefront of the new green industrial revolution.  .. ”
At the height of CACC hysteria in 2007 Dr. Cresswell was included as one of " .. a panel of experts on Climate Change ..  " !!! (“Climate Change - It's no joke!” -

When responding during an Energy and Climate Change Committee hearing on 28 February 2013 to a question (Q288) from Ian Lavery about his current Severn Estuary flood risk management strategy
( Dr. Cresswell said “ .. A major part of our flood defence strategy is .. to find compensatory habitat or be able to convince Government of the fact that we can find compensatory habitat, so that we comply with the Habitats Directive .. ” !!!

It appears that Dr. Cresswell was at one time the South West Director for Regen SW, " .. a leading centre of sustainable energy expertise .. We enable .. organisations to deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency and build a prosperous low-carbon economy in the south west of England .. " (
Zoologist Dr. Cresswell “ .. has previously held posts in Thames, Yorkshire and Welsh Water authorities and the National Rivers Authority .. is a Trustee of Sustainability South West, chair of Future Foundations, promoting sustainable construction in the south west, and chair of the South West Climate Change Partnership .. ”.

All things considered Dr. Cresswell might well have a greater interest in supporting renewable (unreliable) energy projects, protecting birds and other forms of wildlife than protecting humans from floods.

The Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan (PCFMP) June 2012 summary report (Appendix C) says that there are 77 CFMPs for England and Wales (Appendix C - The EA and CFMPs). It's "Catchment Overview" gives a clear indication of why the area has been so prone to flooding and mitigation measures against the impacts taken since Roman times and repeats the 1809 quotation at the beginning of Section 2.0. It also talks about how the EA believes that " .. In the future, flooding will be influenced by climate change, changes in land use (for example urban development) and rural land management. In the Parrett catchment, climate change will have the greatest impact on flood risk .. Using river models .. climate change showed a widespread large impact across the catchment .. "

The PCFMP considers 6 different mitigation policy options " ..
Policy 1 Areas of little or no flood risk where we will continue to monitor and advise .. ,
Policy 2 Areas of low to moderate flood risk where we can generally reduce existing flood risk management actions ..
Policy 3 Areas of low to moderate flood risk where we are generally managing existing flood risk effectively ..
Policy 4 Areas of low, moderate or high flood risk where we are already managing the flood risk effectively but where we may need to take further actions to keep pace with climate change ..
Policy 5 Areas of moderate to high flood risk where we can generally take further action to reduce flood risk ..
Policy 6 Areas of low to moderate flood risk where we will take action with others to store water or manage run-off in locations that provide overall flood risk reduction or environmental benefits .. ".

Policy Option 6 "low to moderate flood risk" was preferred for the Somerset Levels - rather surprising, considering its history! The report says (bold added) “ .. The existing internationally recognised species and habitats depend upon the existing flood management assets. Most assets in the Somerset Levels and Moors serve both flood management and water level management functions, which are essential to the environmental interestsProperties are generally scattered throughout the sub-area, with villages and small communities often situated on land slightly above moor level or on the embankments .. we will take action with others to store water or manage runoff in locations that provide overall flood risk reduction or environmental benefits.

By adopting this policy and redistributing water some areas will be subject to increased flooding while others will benefit from reduced flooding. The aim is to achieve a net overall benefit. The distribution of floodwater between moors can be determined to some extent by the use of sluices and other structures on the rivers. The distribution of floodwater has developed to some extent by historical ‘accident’ rather than design. When considering the distribution of assets across the sub-area it makes sense to direct water to areas which have limited assets at risk.

By redistributing floodwater, primarily from upstream of Langport to the King’s Sedgemoor Drain, the overall damage and disruption from flooding would be reduced. .. ”

As is to be expected from the CACC scare-mongers, attempts are made to blame this weather event on climate change arising from our use of fossil fuels, an argument in support of which there is no convincing scientific evidence. The UK Met. Office’s Chief Scientist Dame Julia Slingo said “ .. If we look at the broader base of evidence then we see things that support the premise that climate change has been making a contribution .. In a nutshell, while there is no definitive answer for the current weather patterns that we have seen, all the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to play in it .. ” (

Although Dame Slingo made no direct reference to our burgeoning use of fossil duels making a contribution to global warming and climate change that is apparently the message that she was trying to promote, as presented in her “Ask the expert — Prof Julia Slingo”
( The “Is climate change caused by human activity?” section of the Met. Office web-site says “ .. It's true that there's a natural carbon cycle. This involves CO2 getting into the atmosphere from a variety of sources including volcanoes and animals breathing, it is then absorbed by trees, plants, rocks and the oceans. This cycle has been delicately balanced for thousands of years, but human influence has offset that balance to send the levels of CO2 rising .. ” - - (see Appendix A, Note 11).

On the other hand Dr Colin Clark, a consultant hydrologist in charge of Charldon Hill Research Station in Somerset said in his 6th February article "Floods on the Somerset Levels: a sad tale of ignorance and neglect" that " .. It would therefore not be correct to state that the present floods are in anyway linked to changes in air temperature, both local, or global .. " (

The Environment Agency says " .. Our website is closing in April 2014 .. "
( Perhaps the answer to the UK’s environmental problems is for Parliament to go the whole hog and disband the Environmental Agency completely. Groups of local authorities should have returned to them responsibility for managing the environments of their own localities, unfettered by EU ideologies that have led to David Cameron's "greenest government yet". It seems that the Broads Authority ( set up by the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 maintains its environment in a commendable manner, for the benefit of  the most important of the species, humans.



Getting back to the  stormy weather event of Winter 2013/14, political maneuvering and the blame-game intensified.

On 5th February the Independent posted an article “David Cameron overrules Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to order urgent dredging in Somerset to combat the flooding” and quoted David Cameron saying that “ .. From the late 1990s – far too long – the Environment Agency believed that it was wrong to dredge. Those of us with rural constituencies affected by flooding have seen the effectiveness of some dredging .. ” ( Why this too-late reaction to the inevitable? Why did he wait for 14 years, during the last 4 of which he held the top political post, before pointing this out and doing something to reduce the impact of such well-known weather events?

It was reported that on the same day Labour leader Ed Miliband had said “ .. I think the government has been slack in its planning and slow to help the people affected. The priority is now to get all of the help possible to those who have been affected by the flooding and the storms .. ” (

On 9th February the media reported on the outburst of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and his comment “ .. We made a mistake, there's no doubt about that and we perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency's advice .. I am really sorry that we took the advice … we thought we were dealing with experts .. " (

On 10th February Miliband said “ .. "It is a disgrace that you have got government ministers pointing the finger of blame at each other when they should be rolling their sleeves up and helping those affected .. The prime minister has got to get a grip on the government's response to flooding .. " (

That is a bit rich, coming from someone who was a Cabinet minister from 2007 to 2010 during which he had every opportunity to speak out against those damaging EU-inspired “Flood Plans” discussed by Dr. North but apparently said not a word. It should be remembered that both the EA's "Flooding in England: A National Assessment of Flood Risk" ( and the “Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan” were implemented when Miliband was head of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

On 3rd February 2014 Paul Homewood, who runs the blog "Not a Lot of People Know That", posted a short article "Cameron’s Claims Not Supported By DECC" ( This started with QUOTE: .. Remember when David Cameron was asked in Parliament last month about recent bad weather, he replied I agree with you that we are seeing more abnormal weather events. Colleagues across the House can argue about whether that is linked to climate change or not. I very much suspect that it is.”.

Paul went on to give an interesting account of his Freedom of Information (FOI ) request submitted to DECC and awaits a response from the Cabinet Office, concluding " .. As Cameron’s statement was made in Parliament, if he has made a statement that is not true he will have to retract it. Watch this space! .. ".

Paul has provided numerous revealing examples of the historical impacts of the UK's recurring wet weather events that have led to severe flooding, e.g. in these articles:
- 5th February 2014 "1929/30 Was Wetter In Southern England" (,


- 4th February 2014 "Nailing The 'Increasing Rainfall' Lie"
- 4th February 2014 article "£31 Million For The Birds"
- 4th February 2014 "It’s Been Wet For The Last Few Months In England – But It’s No Record"(,
- 3rd February "January Rainfall Stats"
- 6th January 2014 "Is England’s Bad Weather A Sign Of Climate Change?"

Pauls article "Storminess Of The Little Ice Age" provides a hint of what we can look forward to if, as several scientists are predicting, the world is heading into another Little Ice Age as the Sun's activity remains low


The article "Extreme weather, now and then" ( by Tony Newbury (Appendix A, Note 5) provides an interesting piece of anecdotal evidence of similar stormy weather in 1927 .

On 9th Febrary it was reported that the leader of UKIP (Appendix A, Note 10) " .. Nigel Farage .. has trumped David Cameron, Prince Charles and certainly Environment Secretary Owen Paterson by wearing waders to flooded Burrowbridge .. UKIP leader Nigel Farage is in Burrowbridge this morning - the latest in a line of high profile political figures to visit flooded Somerset .. Mr Farage's South West trip follows in the footsteps - or welly steps - of Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, Prince Charles, Lord Chris Smith of the Environment Agency and Prime Minister David Cameron .. "

UKIP leader Nigel Farage (Appendix A, Note 10) was quoted as saying " .. "The public inquiry I call for is to look overall at this country at how we manage rivers and to what extent we are doing it ourselves and how we are following EU laws .. ".

This sudden flurry of activity and finger-pointing by these high-profile individuals, all but one being significant political players, does beg the question "Why now and not years ago when the Environment Agency was slavishly carrying out the EU's instructions?". These individuals, who are supposed to be LEADERS, appear simply to have reacted in panic to the flooding suffered by those that they purport to lead.


As is to be expected from the CACC scare-mongers, attempts are made to blame this weather event on climate change arising from our use of fossil fuels, an argument in support of which there is no convincing scientific evidence. On 9th February 2014 the UK Met. Office’s Chief Scientist Dame Julia Slingo (Appendix A, Note 7) said “ .. If we look at the broader base of evidence then we see things that support the premise that climate change has been making a contribution .. In a nutshell, while there is no definitive answer for the current weather patterns that we have seen, all the evidence suggests that climate change has a role to play in it .. ” (

Although Dame Slingo made no direct reference to our burgeoning use of fossil duels making a contribution to global warming and climate change that is apparently the message that she was trying to promote, as presented in her “Ask the expert — Prof Julia Slingo” ( The “Is climate change caused by human activity?” section of the Met. Office web-site says “ .. It's true that there's a natural carbon cycle. This involves CO2 getting into the atmosphere from a variety of sources including volcanoes and animals breathing, it is then absorbed by trees, plants, rocks and the oceans. This cycle has been delicately balanced for thousands of years, but human influence has offset that balance to send the levels of CO2 rising .. ” (

Let us not forget that in November 2013, just before the start of one of the wettest winters in decades, the Met. Office said in its " .. 3-month Outlook Period: December 2013 – February 2014 Issue date: 21.11.13  .. Confidence in the forecast for precipitation across the UK over the next three months is relatively low. For the December-January-February period as a whole there is a slight signal for below-average precipitation.
The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%). .. "
( - hat-tip to the Global Warming Policy Foundation anPaul Homewood at

It is hard to believe that the Met. Office thinks it can reliably forecast what is likely to happen in decades from now when it gets a 3-month forecast so far out!!

It is prudent to be suspicious of anyone who tries to blame our use of fossil fuels for storms such as those experienced in the UK during the Winter 2013/14 . Look out for the hidden agenda. There is no convincing evidence that humans have any significant impact on weather events or the different global climates. The UN's claims about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) is a scam used to promote Agenda 21 - see "Rio+20 Fiasco - but Beware the Club of Rome and Agenda 21" (

As internationally respected Australian atmospheric scientist Garth Paltridge (Appendix A, Note 6) said on 22nd January 2014 “ .. the average man in the street, a sensible chap who by now can smell the signs of an oversold environmental campaign from miles away, is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue .. ”.


1) In 2009 Chistopher Booker authored an excellent book "The Real Global Warming Disaster - is the obsession with 'climate change' turning out to be the most costly scientific blunder in history" ( 

4) In his 4th February 2014 article "£31 Million For The Birds" blogger Paul Homewood commented QUOTE: .. One of the major criticisms of the Environment Agency has been its failure to properly dredge the rivers that drain the Somerset Levels. EA Chairman, Chris Smith claims that this is due to a lack of funding, yet, as local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater in Somerset, says: “We’re just sick to death of it [flooding]. They [the Environment Agency] need to dredge these rivers, stop spending money — £31 million — on bird sanctuaries and spend £5 million, that’s all we want, to sort this out.” .. UNQUOTE (

Paul ends with some interesting information about " .. Chris Smith, who has ten other jobs that he has to fit into his busy schedule .. ". That same issue is discussed in the article "UK flooding: Environment Agency boss Lord Smith engulfed in crisis over his 11 jobs" (

 Pass the trough???

Paul’s 8th February 2014 article “Dawlish Railway – Then & Now” compares the related 2014 storm damage to the Dawlish railway line with a similar weather event nearly 160 years ago in 1855!!!

5) Tony Newbury worked with Andrew Montford to expose the BBC's CACC propaganda machine  - see:,
(See also the article "New Report: The BBC and Cimate Change: A Triple Betrayal" by Christopher Booker -

6) Garth Paltridge is an emeritus professor at the University of Tasmania, fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and was a chief research scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research (

7) " .. Dame Julia Mary Slingo DBE (née Walker; born 13 December 1950) is a British meteorologist. She has been the Chief Scientist at the Met Office since 2009. Slingo obtained her BSc in 1973 and her PhD in 1989, both from the University of Bristol. Before joining the Met Office she was the Director of Climate Research in NERC's National Centre for Atmospheric Science, at the University of Reading, where she is still a Professor of Meteorology. In 2006 she founded the Walker Institute for Climate System Research at Reading, aimed at addressing the cross disciplinary challenges of climate change and its impacts .. " (

8) On 9th February 2014 the Mail on Sunday posted an article “Agency for flooding that puts greater water parsnips and voles before local people” by David Rose in which he focuses on the 2008 consultation document covering the Parrett flood management plan. This article made similar points about humans being relegated below the status of not only birds but also “ .. water voles, greater water parsnips, silver diving beetles and large marsh grasshoppers .. Among the species it listed as expected to thrive were the voles, parsnips (a type of flower) and insects, as well as various birds .. ”

Also on the 9th February the Sunday Telegraph re-posted an article from its blog of the previous evening “Britain’s flooding disaster is being driven by EU policy” by Christopher Booker (Appendix A, Notes 1 and 2). He said QUOTE: .. In 2008, when the EA was run by Baroness Young .. (she) explained in an interview that creating wildlife habitats could be very expensive, but that by far the cheapest way was simply to allow natural flooding. As she gaily put it: “Just add water.” Around this time she was heard to say of the Somerset Levels that she would like to see “a limpet mine attached to every pumping station” ,, UNQUOTE

“ .. Barbara Scott Young, Baroness Young of Old Scone .. was the chief executive of the Environment Agency (2000 – May 2008), an appointment which led to her becoming a non-affiliated member in the House of Lords; previously she had taken the Labour Party whip. Other posts she has held include chair of English Nature; vice chairman of the BBC; board member of AWG plc; Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and of a number of local health authorities .. ”

“ .. She is also President of the British Trust for Ornithology; President of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Peterborough Wildlife Trust; Chancellor of Cranfield University; and a member of the Climate Change Adaptation Committee. This reflects her keen interest in the environment, particularly in birds and other wildlife .. ”

That's just the kind of person you would need to head up the Environment Agency during a period when it is concentrating on protecting birds rather than humans, i.e. "Environment First"!! (see Appendix C - The EA and CFMPs).

9) There is an inseparable link between flood management plans and “water level management plans” and contents of the “Bridgwater and Pawlett Water Level Management Plan” ( drawn up by Parrett Internal Drainage Board and approved in June 2009 are noteworthy. 

“ .. Water Level Management Plans (WLMPs) are required for all areas which have a conservation interest and where the control of water is important for the maintenance or rehabilitation of that interestPriority is given to WLMPs for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), particularly those of international importance (e.g. Special Protection Areas, Ramsar Wetlands of international importance) .. The Government has established a Public Service Agreement (PSA) target to ensure that 95% of all SSSIs are in a favourable condition (or in an unfavourable but recovering condition) by December 2010 .. ”

“ .. The Parrett IDB recognises its status as a ‘Competent Authority’ for the purposes of the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 when considering any plan or project which is likely to have a significant effect on features of European importance in the SPA and/or possible SAC. The IDB also recognises its duty to further conservation as part of its statutory obligations under relevant legislation including the Land Drainage Act 1991, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) and the Natural England and Rural Communities Act (NERC) 2006. 

The WLMP will assist the Drainage Authorities, such as the Parrett IDB and the Environment Agency to carry out their nature conservation duties across the Plan area. In addition, the WLMP will help the Drainage Authorities to ensure that the investment in infrastructure is appropriate and maintenance of these assets continues in the future .. the Parrett IDB acknowledges that there is little opportunity to increase agricultural productivity within Bridgwater Bay SSSI because of its importance for nature conservation .. ”. 

10) Several disenchanted key figures in the UKIP organisation are reported as having made some interesting comments about it (search on
2000 UKIP Party Secretary Bryan Smalley " .. UKIP will not survive if Nigel Farage is allowed to impose his dishonest and impetuous will on the Party .. "

- 2004 UKIP founder ALAN SKED " .. I was proud to found the UK Independence Party and I still avidly support the cause. However, since I quit the party in 1997, I have been disturbed by developments inside it and disagree on principle with its obsession with gaining seats in next month's elections in the European Parliament ,, ",

- 2004? one-time UKIP Chief Researcher Richard North " .. It is, in effect, a one-man party …. the Farage Party .. he has failed to develop with the party and now is the central reason why UKIP itself has failed to develop .. ",
- etc. etc. etc. 

A decade later and UKIP, under Nigel Farage's watch, is pushing Conservatives and Lib-Dems into 3rd and 4th place in UK bi-elections, e.g:

Let's face it, very few of us trust many if any of our politicians but despite that, at the moment UKIP looks to be the best option for saving the UK from that even bigger catastrophe, the EU.


11) Perhaps the Met. Office wasn't aware of the catastrophe that hit the River Severn Estuary area in 1607. This could not be blamed on our use of fossil fuels so various causes have been blamed " .. God .. bad weather .. storm surge, a combination of meteorological extremes and a high tide .. " and more recently a tsunami (,_1607#Possible_causes).  

12) This header picture of a flooded Burrowbridge, located at the confluence of the rivers Parrett and Tone (and the old course of the Cary) on the Somerset Levels, was taken in February 2014. The centreground shows the ruins of St. Michael's Church atop Burrow Mump (hill) rising out of the low-lying Levels. Archaeologists from English Heritage advise that " .. The sides of the mound appear to have been terraced in the medieval period for cultivation, possibly because dry land was at a premium at the time .. The majority of the land in the Levels lies below the high water mark, so in constant danger of flooding .. " (

Another of the interesting comments in that English Heritage report is " .. This process of drainage and reclamation may have led to changes in the settlement pattern in the medieval period. The deserted farmsteads identified in the survey area to the south and east of Othery (PRNs 11276 and 54919) and to the west of Thorngrove (PRN 11272) and the deserted hamlet to the south of Burrowbridge (PRN 44296) may be examples of incursions onto reclaimed land in the moor, possibly later abandoned due to flooding .. ".

The source of the header picture (and others) of the February 2014 flooding around Burrowbridge, Somerset, is 

13) "SpotlightON - Flood Hype and Vested Interest" ( is a related article on floods, risk and motivation, based upon an article by flood expert Professor Edmund C. Penning-Rowsell.


“DIRECTIVE 2007/60/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2007 on the assessment and management of flood risks”

“DIRECTIVE 2000/60/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy



!!"Environment First"!!

The Environment Agency says in its 2012 "Catchment Flood Management Plans" annual report that " .. We protect and improve the environment and make it a better place for people and wildlife .. We reduce the risks to people and properties from flooding; make sure there is enough water for people and wildlife .. Acting to reduce climate change and helping people and wildlife adapt to its consequences are at the heart of all that we do .. "

The EA's "Business and Industry: How we regulate you: Enforcement" web-page makes this comment (bold added)  " .. We encourage individuals and businesses to put the environment first .. " (, reinforced in the footer of numerous EA documents, including the Parrett Catchment Flood Management Plan - Post Adoption statement




  1. I detected rather a lot of bullshit from the media fear-mongers last winter. Having read how the flooding in Reading and Caversham was "the worst evah" (or similar) I vaguely remembered the Thames floods of 1947. A few minutes Googling revealed many reports, articles, maps and photos which showed the 1947 flooding to have been as bad or much worse.

    I also read how dredging the Thames stopped in the 1990s because it endangered freshwater mussels. I'm sure many residents felt a warm glow of satisfaction, having suffered for "the Cause" as they surveyed the murky waters at the bottom of their stairs (or attic if a bungalow).

    Apparently, dredging the Thames, Parrett, Tone and other rivers "won't prevent flooding". Really? Who has ever said it would? Dredging won't prevent flooding so we won't do any at all? Rivers and streams obviously carry water to to the sea. Making them a bit deeper, or at least stopping them from silting up must maximise their carrying capacity, and at the very least reduce flooding, especially the size of the flooded area.

    Read this gem from George Monbiot.

    Tony Price

  2. Hi Tony,

    Thanks for the comment. As I said in the final paragraph of section 1.0 “ .. it is worthwhile remembering that the .. name given to .. Somerset - derives from .. "somer " .. meaning "summer" and "saete" .. meaning " .. a residence" .. i.e. somewhere to live or settle in the Summer!!! .. ”.

    That’s why dredging has been an essential feature in the area for centuries, until the Green religion sprang up and started promoting the idea that the needs of humans are secondary to those of fishes, wetland fowl and other lower forms of life.

    Owen Patterson recognised the importance of dredging in places like the Somerset Levels, the Thames valley and elsewhere and was the only minister to talk sensibly about it but look how he was treated by the leader of “the greenest government yet” who was determined to do all that he could to pinch green votes. The latest from the Cameroon camp is a donation of more £millions of hard-earned taxpayers’ money to the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Claimte Change (CACC) scam. According to the GWPF “ .. It has been reported that David Cameron will later this week pledge £650m to the Green Climate Fund, which aims to help the developing world deal with climate change .. ” (

    Never mind, the bye-election on Friday will give us all a good idea where he and his green blob supporters are heading after the next election – into oblivion. Of the main parties only UKIP has a sensible energy and climate policy ( – VOTE UKIP!!!!

    BTW, I see that in July 2010 when out-of-work high-school art teacher John O’Sullivan was collecting members for his “slayers”/PSI blogging group Alan Siddons (one of the PSI founding members) made some less than complimentary comments about you ( It seems that you have as high a regard for that lot as I have (

    Best regards, Pete


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