Is it ever going to stop raining?
As I write this, it’s tipping it down – again – just as I’m thinking about taking the dog out and then collecting my daughter from school.
It’s been raining for what seems like forever.
My trusty Wellibobs (that’s what they’re called, I’m not trying to be cutesy, they’re ankle height and faux-fur lined) have sprung a leak, but as I’ve been wearing them almost constantly over the winter months I can’t exactly complain.
I think I may be in danger of getting trench foot – every step I take in the garden is accompanied by a squelch from the ground beneath, with water seeping through the hole in my shoe.
But still, I shouldn’t complain because although we’ve had localized flooding around here (the people of Oakley Road/Gainsborough Road in Corby have my sympathies – seriously, why does it keep flooding so badly there?), it’s nothing compared with what the south-west of England has had to contend with.
Every day the news is full of pictures of flooded fields, massive waves crashing on to rocks, train lines in Dawlish which have been demolished – what next?
Something needs to be done. Yes, we’ve had an unfortunate run of systems blowing in from the Atlantic (see, I’ve learned something from watching endless weather reports), but the inescapable fact is that this isn’t normal weather.
I’m not going to get into a debate about climate change, but I will say this – for every action there’s a reaction.
We keep cutting down trees, building endless warehouses, concreting over the countryside – the water, when it falls, has to go somewhere.
Plus if you keep building on flood plains, chances are those buildings are going to get flooded when the nearby river bursts its banks.
Rivers need dredging, ditches need clearing out – it’s not really that difficult is it?
Regular maintenance is the key; proactive rather than reactive.
Unfortunately, into this mix, we have an Environment Secretary who thinks it’s OK to cut down ancient woodland as long as we plant a few trees somewhere else.
I think he refers to this as ‘offsetting’.
I call it madness.
That kind of logic makes me question what Owen Paterson’s qualifications were for that role?
I would have hoped that an Environment Secretary would at least have an interest in the environment, if not a basic grasp of environmental science.
But I expect that’s too much to ask...
Read more from Helen here.