Environmental & Planning Policy must be joined up

Cameron must rethink planning to prevent flooding

A group of experts led by the Landscape Institute have written to David Cameron warning that the Government must not risk future flood prevention by focusing on short-term problems. The experts are calling for planners to adopt a series of measures aimed at tackling the risk of flooding, including measures like planting trees, requiring that all new developments in towns and cities should include flood alleviation and protection measures, and that any new homes built on flood plains must be resilient to flooding. Sue Illman, president of the Landscape Institute, said: “We want the money that is going to be invested spent wisely to give us a proper outcome.” The Guardian reports that dredging of two major rivers feeding the Somerset Levels is due to begin in the next few weeks.

The LGiU produced the above (edited by me) today but that is only part of the story. Fundamentally, the UK problem is that Planning is seen as a predominately economic matter with environmental consequences being very much a secondary consideration. Such has been the case for generations and Governments of all colours have failed to act to bring true harmony between environmental and planning policy making.

The issue has not been highlighted by flooding so much in Sefton, although concern about the potential for flooding was a major consideration in the minds of Formby residents when they recently rose up to fight a new housing development off Liverpool Road. The elephant in the room, or should I say both elephants, are flooding and building on high grade agricultural land. Both are high end public concerns that most Westminster politicians seem to be oblivious of.

Environmental sustainability has to lead the Planning agenda

If Westminster is going to act to curb building in ways that cause flooding they also need to act at the same time to curb building on high grade agricultural land. Environmental sustainability has to be the primary aim with economic growth, important though that is, taking second place.

Flooding – We knew it was bad but………………..

UK reaches global top ten for flood risk

The UK is among the top 10 countries in the world at greatest economic risk from flooding. It is ranked seventh highest globally for its economic exposure to flooding – behind the US, China, India, Bangladesh, Germany and Japan, according to risk analysis company Maplecroft. The latest index put the UK 42nd most at risk for physical exposure to flooding. But its high population density and the proximity of property and infrastructure to flood zones means its non-agricultural economic exposure is the seventh highest. However, despite the high risk, the UK was also one of the best placed countries to weather any problems because of its spending power and robust infrastructure.

Financial Times, Page: 3 The Daily Telegraph, Page: 4 Daily Express, Page: 6 (all today)

With thanks to the LGiU for this information.

Alt-Crossens flood consultation – Lydiate event

Displayed information at Lydiate Village Centre event on 31st January

Displayed information at Lydiate Village Centre event on 31st January

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

The Maghull area flooding pressure points

www.altcrossens.org/

This event, which was being led by the Environment Agency, seemed to have had very little publicity for some odd reason. Certainly I do not recall reading much if anything about it in the local press.

It ran from 2pm until 7pm on 31st January and was in effect a drop-in style event where anyone could wander into the Village Centre on Lydiate’s Lambshear Lane to have a chat with the experts on hand and look at the display boards.

I pointed out to the Environment Agency staff whom I spoke to that the big issue to the west of Maghull is the confluence of the River Alt, St Helen’s Gutter and Dover’s Brook just north of Sefton Bridges Lane and Meadows Recycling Centre. See photo below for a shot of what happens when the River Alt can’t take the water from Dover’s Brook (because the water level in the Alt is too high) and the water in Brook ‘over tops’.

Not that we need reminding how bad flooding can be on the western side of Maghull - This is Bridges Lane

Not that we need reminding how bad flooding can be on the western side of Maghull – This is Bridges Lane and the truck is travelling east towards Dover’s Brook bridge having just crossed the bridge over the Alt

I hope I got the message over clearly!

Sefton Local Plan – many concerns not least flooding

Last night Sefton Council’s Planning Committee met and the big issue on the agenda was a report on the 2nd round public consultation held between July and September 2013.

Not surprisingly there are many areas of concern but the one that kept appearing over and over again from many differing sources was flooding.

The vast majority of Sefton Borough is low lying, some of it below sea level, so is there any wonder that this is the biggest concern in most of Sefton’s communities.

Even the Environment Agency has raised concerns in respect of Sefton’s proposed sites to build on because of flooding worries!

I will post further on this subject very soon.

Lydiate Flooding – Work at Highbanks tries to resolve problem

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Residents who live in the first couple of houses in Highbanks have suffered flooding problems for a while now and I have previously posted about them.

Last week Sefton Council and their contractors started works which will, I hope, resolve the problems that led to one house being internally flooded in September 2012.

The two photo’s above show works taking place with the second shot being of the remote controlled camera robot about to be sent down the culvert to look for problems. It found them! Solidified slurry has reduced the size of the culvert by maybe 70% and the drainage engineers tell me that this is often caused by sand and cement from building works being washed into the surface water drains.

More work is to be done this week to try to clear the obstructions I understand.

Highbanks/Southport Road, Lydiate – Flooding Problem

Cllr. Andrew Blackburn and I attended a site meeting today in Highbanks with Sefton’s Chief Drainage Engineer Sam Dimba.

The meeting, called for by residents, was associated with a long-running flooding problem that caused a house in Highbanks to be internally flooded in September 2012. My postings of 25th September, 1st October and 3rd October 2012 refer.

This was the scene in September 2012 in Highbanks, Lydiate

This was the scene in September 2012 in Highbanks, Lydiate

Highbanks is quite close to where I live so I have become well acquainted with the flooding which I am told is associated with a culverted stream that runs under Soutport Road, into Highbanks under some gardens and then under the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

The flooding of September 2012 was bad and both United Utilities and Sefton Council have been investigating the cause of it. A blockage in the culvert seems to be the issue and work is to be undertaken next week to try to right things.

Let’s hope for a good result although that will clearly depend on further investigations after the known blockage is cleared. I suspect there are no guarantees here.