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To think our flood organisation is pants

(19 Posts)
Tryingtobenice Thu 27-Sep-12 15:26:48

Yesterday as the flood waters swirled around her living room my mother was called by the flood warning system to say 'flood risk over'. She was evacuated by dingy shortly after as the water reached her knees.
The fire brigade were by all accounts brilliant but since they left her at the local pub there has been no info. The environment agency cannot tell us if there is water and when it may subside. They point us at the website but that just says the risk of flooding is gone but their may still be water. No shit Sherlock. How bloody stupid to direct people who have been evacuated to the Internet. And no, the site isn't mobile friendly.

Ok. Rant over. Now, please do any of you have experience of floods and advise on what to do? So far she has contacted insurers. How long do you reckon she'll be homeless? Will she ever be able to move house (she was planning to move this year but now, who knows what price she'd get). Any advise welcome.

Tryingtobenice Thu 27-Sep-12 15:28:23

There not their and advice not advise. Sorry.

NUFC69 Thu 27-Sep-12 16:02:19

We had flooding in our village a few years ago and I am afraid that it took several months (and, in some cases, up to a year) before people were allowed back into their property. The thing is that after the property has been stripped, they have to bring in heaters because the plaster, etc., is wet. Quite often properties have to be rewired. I am sure this is not what your mum will want to hear, but prepare her for the worst.

Tryingtobenice Thu 27-Sep-12 16:35:49

That's what I was worried about. They think the road is wrecked so even getting in to rescue a few things could be a while.

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Thu 27-Sep-12 16:51:22

So sorry for your poor mum. sad

Sallyingforth Thu 27-Sep-12 17:33:51

I have every sympathy with anyone who has been flooded out but I think it's unfair to blame the Environment Agency. They can't measure the flow of every river and stream, and they don't know the individual situation of every single house, so they can only give general advice for each area.

There will be abnormal weather from time to time and you can't avoid it.
If you live on low-lying land you may get flooded.
If you live on a hilltop you may get storm damage.
And if you live on the side of a hill you may suffer from subsidence!

Perhaps your mother should blame the Met Office for the rain?

(Sorry - I'm sure it's very distressing for her)

Tryingtobenice Thu 27-Sep-12 19:58:56

Sallyingforth I agree. I don't expect them to monitor 100% but they look a bit daft calling the all clear just as the banks burst. Surely they should just not pretend they know anything?

Sallyingforth Thu 27-Sep-12 20:12:05

"Surely they should just not pretend they know anything?"
smile

GnomeDePlume Thu 27-Sep-12 20:14:11

I disagree Sallyingforth, the Netherlands has much low-lying land but manages to keep flood at bay. The reason for this is that they have taken a national decision to not let the floods of 1953 (in which over 1800 people died) be repeated.

No such political will exists in Britain. We allow flood plains to be built on, we allow rivers and canals to fall into disrepair. It is always someone else's fault and someone else's responsibility to do something about it.

It is a national responsibility.

Sallyingforth Thu 27-Sep-12 20:23:14

You're right about building on flood plains. It's foolish.
But if people are daft enough to buy somewhere subject to flooding, it's their own responsibility.

GoldShip Thu 27-Sep-12 20:42:21

It's ridiculous. Yesterday me and DP had to walk into work. It's only 3 miles thankfully, but every car route involves going under a bridge and underneath every one was flooded. River Douglas you sod!!!

My mum said this had been happening when my great nan and grandad were young so why they haven't addressed it I don't know.

GnomeDePlume Thu 27-Sep-12 21:31:09

Sorry, Sallyingforth I've got to disagree again!

If someone buys or rents a house which has been granted planning permission then shouldnt they be able to reasonably assume that the authorities wouldnt have allowed a development in a known flood area? People move around a lot more than in days gone by so dont necessarily have detailed local knowledge.

Another thought is that flood protection in one area is only pushing flood water into another area. Your house may have been flood free but then a big development is built upstream and you get their runoff.

The thing that makes flood prevention work in the Netherlands is that it is a coherent policy. There is water everywhere and it is managed constantly.

Tryingtobenice Thu 27-Sep-12 21:52:03

30 years without flooding until yesterday. I get the argument about buyer beware but on that basis the whole of south London is a flood plane.
Plus rumour has it that the new York defences actually caused this flood.

Sallyingforth Thu 27-Sep-12 22:25:22

Actually Gnome we are not that far apart.
I agree there should be a national policy but the big house builders have too strong a hold over the planners. Over and over again they have pushed through developments which are not only unsatisfactory in themselves but increase runoff that sends more water downstream to affect others.
The Netherlands are a rather different case because so much of the land is reclaimed and below sea level and the danger is from sea flooding in. The recent UK floods have largely been from water running down from uplands.

Sallyingforth Thu 27-Sep-12 22:29:41

Tryingtobenice
Yes parts of south London are on a flood plain and guess what - they are going to build whole new towns in the Thames Gateway, at sea level. There will be concrete walls to keep the sea out, which will just divert the water further upstream.
I don't know about York but you may very well be right.

GnomeDePlume Fri 28-Sep-12 07:39:40

Certainly the Dutch situation is different, the risk there is of the North Sea coming back to claim its own!

The thing is that the Dutch realise that they have to take a consistent approach for the benefit of all. This means that water management is part of new developments. New developments dont take place in isolation.

The same flood defences wouldnt work in many areas of the UK but what would work would be taking the approach that water can be managed and should be managed.

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Fri 28-Sep-12 08:30:32

It's not as straight forward as not buying a house built on a flood plain. In my old home town there were two massive flood plains on either side of the motorway as it comes into the town. These have now been built on. These houses won't flood though as they took into account them being on a flood plain and built up the land to quite a high level as part of the development. So they're fine. But where is all that water going to go now? It's got to go somewhere, so instead will go to other, now lower lying, previously unflooded areas. It's madness.

LRDtheFeministDragon Fri 28-Sep-12 08:39:46

Quite a lot of the UK is also land reclaimed from the sea or from marshland, just quite a long time ago. I agree you should expect that if a house is up for sale or rent, you should at least be able to find out whether it is likely to flood. The fact is that lots of places are flooding now that have not flooded for years.

I wish people around here would stop paving over everything, which strikes me as a really selfish thing to do. We're on the edge of a floodplane, and people keep putting in trendy paved-over gardens which makes the problem worse.

GnomeDePlume Fri 28-Sep-12 12:53:42

I dont think that the authorities (particularly planning depts) realise just how big water management needs to be. I had a look at the new town I used to live in in NL. There there was a canal every 250 metres. Not a ditch but a canal big enough to row on in summer and skate on in winter. The water is generally around a metre deep but the canal itself is far deeper than that. This means that there is plenty of depth still available to take the extra if a flood comes.

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