Monday, 10 February 2014

Judge Dredge

Eric Pickles, Conservative Secretary of State for Communities apparently knows best (see here). Was he giving advice on politics, on which he has a good deal of experience? Or on being a local councillor or running a city council, which he can claim to know a good deal about? Or on the city of Bradford due to his Yorkshire roots? Or on Brentwood and Ongar, his constituency in Essex? Or even on law, given that he has at least, some time ago, studied that at Leeds Polytechnic? None of these! Eric Pickles (pictured 'in action' top left) knows best about the management of water catchments (drainage basins; watersheds), including what's best to do to prevent flooding in Somerset, Berkshire and elsewhere in pretty unprecedented wet weather circumstances. He said,
 
"We perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency's advice.

"I think we recognise now that we should have dredged and I think it's important now that we get on with the process of getting people back into their houses, and really do some serious pumping."

He added: "I apologise unreservedly and I'm really sorry that we took the advice, we thought we were dealing with experts." 

He's wrong not only because he failed to give very good reasons and evidence to reject the best available scientific advice but also because now is not the time to criticise the key agency fighting the floods. He needs help sort the current situation out as best as possible, working with the Environment Agency. However, he appears to be blinded by his need to appeal to what he thinks is popular.

Unprecedented weather, most likely part of a climate change trend, combined with land management and agricultural and building practices that have encouraged increasingly rapid flow of water and solids into rivers, instead of soaking in and being released more gradually, are the causes of this prolonged flooding. A comprehensive, well funded approach is called for not just dredging. There probably will be some dredging on the Somerset Levels but they will have to look at the effects throughout the whole water system. They need to consider/reconsider future plans too because the rivers they may dredge are above sea level and prone to rapid silting up.

UK Governments of late have a history of rejecting the best available scientific advice: criticising the Environment Agency on dredging/flood management; rejecting scientific advice that badger culling would not be an effective way to fight Bovine TB; sacking drugs expert Prof David Nutt (here); failing repeatedly to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change at the rate and scale advised by the UNs IPCC. The political trumps the rational it seems.
More here.

1 comment:

  1. Great Informative blog.. thanks for share with us ..
    Now a days waste is very big problem for human health... So we need waste management services and environmental services for good human health and keep clean the environment.

    ReplyDelete

Genuine, constructive, relevant comments are most welcome.