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, 31 January 2013


On the journey to London on Monday, I looked out upon mile after mile of flooded fields in Devon  and Somerset. And that was before the further lashing we had this week. I have never seen water like it. But then we have never had rain like it. I visited homes in Yealmbridge on Friday to see properties which had three to six feet of water from the river Yealm bursting in upon them.

Anecdotally I have heard that 1864 was a similar year. The trouble was it was then followed by six more years of rain! Most of us are hoping that nature will do what she does best and compensate for all of this rain with a dry summer. We shall see.

The floods coincide with the met Office confirming that the planet has not experienced global warming in the past fifteen years and none is expected in the next five years! This is contrary to all the man-made climate change propaganda (almost a new religion) heaped upon us for the past two decades. I am now convinced that what we are seeing is simply part of the great sweep of natural climate changes – cycles and seasons – that our planet has always experienced. Of course we should still be good stewards of our precious world.

It is important to have the correct diagnosis so that the proper treatment can be prescribed. If these are natural cycles then we must protect ourselves during the trough as best we can. We must adapt and build better defences. That is what we should be spending our precious resources upon, not pursuing remedies based on false science.

Part of our adaptation must be never to build on or near floodplains ever again.  At the moment it is too easy for developers to persuade planning committees that floodplain development should be permitted if the right engineering solutions are put in place. The problem with these is that they often do not work.

Flood plains are nature's way of dealing with periods of excessive rainfall. Fields full of water are not problems, but part of the solution. Houses and businesses full of water are the problem!

So a proper diagnosis of why this is happening; no more flood plain development and more money on flood prevention schemes is the way to tackle the immediate flooding challenges. By the time we have mastered that, we will doubtless have to invest in anti-drought measures.

posted by Gary @ 10:09