Britain is an island particularly exposed and vulnerable to north Atlantic weather systems. No one who has seen the pictures on our TVs of the havoc wreaked by this winter’s storms, with whole areas of the country under water (often mixed with raw sewage), washed away railway lines and roofs blown off railway stations, can doubt that we have a national problem. The question is, what are we going to do about it?
Mankind has always had to adapt to climate changes. Ten thousand years ago with ice sheets covering much of the globe our ancestors lived, fished and hunted. At least when the ice sheets melted they didn’t have to deal with capitalist governments and the European Union.
The critical situation we are now facing demands a national, planned, collective response not unlike that of wartime. And yet during the Second World War Britain could and did implement what it needed to do to save the country. Now it’s not so simple.
Some of the flooding over much of southern England may have been unavoidable. But by no means all of it. The flooding of the Somerset Levels was the result of deliberate government policy (and that includes Labour government policy), at the behest of the European Union. Environmentalist Richard North has uncovered the trail from the EU’s Floods Directive of 23 October 2007 to the British implementation of the directive as the Flood Risk Regulations of 2009. Instead of protecting areas like the Somerset Levels, the policy was to “make space for water” – i.e., encourage flooding.
So Labour’s Baroness Young was heard saying she would like to “attach a limpet mine” to every pumping station on the Levels. Dredging equipment was sold off. Make space for water, not land.
Once the immediate problems have been dealt with, we will have to get to grips with our membership of the European Union. Its chaotic, uncontrolled migration policy is forecast to boost Britain’s population to 80 million within a generation, leading to enormous pressure to build houses on floodplains. Its agricultural subsidies encourage farmers to rip out trees from uplands, speeding runoff from upland areas into the rivers.
Note, too, that David Cameron’s proposal to hand control of flood defences to local authorities would require approval from Brussels.
Don’t let us, our homes, our livelihoods and our country get washed away. This is a matter of prime national importance, and everything must be done to protect the country.
The sometimes competing claims of housing, farmland and wildlife need to be decided here, not in Brussels. ■