Tuesday, February 18, 2014

An entirely avoidable disaster

If you've been watching the news recently, you'll know that great chunks of the UK are under water or under threat of flooding at the moment, thanks to the worst rain since records began. Why? Because the current government cut funding for flood defences:

Flood-stricken communities, including those visited by David Cameron in the Somerset Levels and Yalding in Kent, have been left without planned defences following government funding cuts, the Guardian can reveal.

Undelivered defences, totalling many millions of pounds, also include schemes on the stretch of Devon coast at Dawlish where the mainline railway fell into the sea and near the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Ministers have been heavily criticised for cutting flood defence spending by almost £100m a year after taking power, but this is the first time specific projects affected by the cuts have been identified.

There's more detail here on the effects of the cuts on the Thames valley (some parts of which are flooded out).

Governments aren't responsible for the weather (except insofar as they ignore climate change), but they are very much responsible for how they plan for it. The UK government appears to have thrown such planning out the window in search of easy cuts so it could cut taxes for its rich cronies. They need to pay a price for it. At the least, there are Ministers who should be resigning - but a government which simply allows this scale of disaster to happen needs to go.