First of all this is only my opinion and other people will think I am completely wrong, but others may agree, all I want to do is to help reduce the flooding in the UK and especially in Ripon.

I feel like the little boy at the end of the fairy tale about the Emperor's New Clothes, everybody in power can see and understand all the reports written about rivers and flooding but are they necessary when the only job to do is a bit of clearance and maintenance by local councils and other bodies. We used to manage without all the paperwork but now flooding appears to be increasing - just type the name of any town on a river followed by the word "floods" to see when it flooded last.

Nearly all of this paper has developed from the Bern Convention of 1979 via the EU Habitats Directive of 1992 to the setting up of the EA in 1996. The UK has signed up to these and the directives, etc they are now part of British law. That may mean that we cannot now prevent flooding without breaking the law and the EA is powerless to do anything necessary like clearing or dredging. They are therefore trying to make space for water while the waterways are allowed to fill up.

It may seem simple but having looked at many rivers over the last 14 years there is invariably some kind of blockage narrowing the watercourse, either gravel/silt or something manmade, that has formed in the last few years. These used to be noticed and cleared locally but now we need many long and expensive studies - 16 reports, 1178 pp in Hull, found to date - which in effect prevent any work being done.

I have found up to now 139 reports from the EA, EU, councils and government totaling 6857 pp for a bit of extra reading.

I suppose all this writing keeps many people in work and gets rid of a lot of government money, but as regards flooding all you have to do is ask local council or water board workers or local farmers. The intelligensia have now produced a report - “ In search of ‘lost’ knowledge and outsourced expertise in flood risk management “ 12pp - saying the same thing but again written in big words that nobody can understand. Does anybody ever read and understand all this writing or is it just because one university graduate is creating work for other university graduates. Perhaps it is to do with who takes responsibility or who carries the insurance.?
Obviously the people who write these reports are paid do it during working hours but do other people then sit in an office and get paid to read them or is this home work.

The stories on this web site add to the total number of reports on flooding but at least they are readable and don't cost anything - same as asking local people.

If you fancy reading the 40 page Ripon Project Appraisal Report plus 129 page Appendices and the 285 page Environmental Statement for the Ripon Flood Alleviation Scheme by the consultants Halcrow - please ask.
It goes into a lot of detail about storage dams, flood walls, sheet piling, building a water level gauge, clearing flood arches, etc. Ask local people and they all say the river needs dredging and can remember swimming and boating - it would certainly help. Clearing walls, trees etc that encroach on the river would also help. The Halcrow report cost £148,000 and the whole job cost £ 14M. The gravel that comes out of the river is worth about £18 per ton and there is about 20,000 tons to come out, this should cover the cost easily. A concrete works did just this in Boroughbridge before the EA stopped them.
There is now a storage dam on the River Laver but we think the flood came down the River Skell. See home page.

I have just found the Conveyance Estimating System - CES - Manual commissioned by the EA from HRWallingford Ltd. (at what cost). This is the best (worst) one yet. It is 115 pp of big words., formulae and diagrams telling how to find out how much water will pass a given point in a river. The only water level that matters is the peak historic flood level - you can find this by looking at the capacity of the nearest old bridge. This would have been built to carry any expected floods after the last bridge was swept away. The rest of the river needs this cross section.
HR Wallingford Ltd are a big worldwide company dealing with multi million £ port developments. All England wants is a little bit of channel clearance and maintenance to cure most of the flooding as we used to do before the EA was invented.

Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of all this paper and actually get some effective work done on the rivers.

The EA paper trail

May 2015

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