Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 12 July 2012


Whether it is caused by mankind's activity I remain undecided, but one thing is for sure, we are experiencing climate change. I tend to share my farming father's innate faith in the awesome power of the planet that we can do little to impact. Furthermore, when we hear phrases from experts such as "the wettest June for 100 years" it means that 100 years ago there was a June that was wetter – presumably not then caused by global warming as the motor car had just been invented.

But weather patterns are clearly changing, both in the UK and elsewhere, with more extreme climatic conditions taking place, just as predicted. The dramatic events of the past weekend, when the River Yealm broke its banks and many parts of the constituency were flooded, was a local reminder that we face a real challenge.

Whether or not we believe in man-made global warming, we obviously should do all we can to be good stewards and move towards a more sustainable way of creating energy and living. But in the meantime what should we do about the threat of extreme weather?

The short answer is we have to adapt.

We need our experts to get better at issuing public warnings. The Environment Agency was on the ball last Friday and broadcast a red warning for Devon which did enable some precautionary measures to be put in place. Better and earlier warnings on which we can rely must become part of our future.

We must get better at refusing new development in areas where there is likely to be a negative flooding impact on adjoining areas. The value of flood plains and low lying meadows in soaking up excess water and disposing of it slowly cannot be over emphasised.

We all have to get better at small-scale prevention measures. Part of our property is beside a stream and the planners insisted we build a bund (small wall). I was reluctant to incur this expense, but relented, and in the small hours of Saturday morning the water reached the top of the bund but got no further.

Other temporary defences will also have to be considered by those living in places where the risk of flooding is growing.

Government must continue to invest in major schemes to shield the most vulnerable areas as resources permit.

Extreme weather patterns look like being with us for a while. We should take sensible measures to adapt.

posted by Gary @ 09:32