The bee in my bonnet is that the rivers need clearing, deepening and widening to give the same capacity as the nearest old bridge. These would have been built to
take any expected flood water as probably the last bridge was swept away in the last flood - see 'Why Britain floods'. This means many tonnes of silt/gravel will have to be removed from the rivers and the flood plain- see 'River Trent'. To do it properly, clearing the rivers will have to be planned by starting at the outfall and working upstream to clear any obstructions or reductions in width. Dredging in short stretches as per regulations will not work. These will only fill with gravel/silt in the next flood. Any straightening or drain clearing upstream will only increase the water flow which will meet the first blockage and overflow.

This flies against all directives from the EA, the EU, the RRT but this work used to be done prior to 1996.

Nowadays all the talk is about keeping the water up in the catchment with dams, trees, storage, blocking streams, etc which a very good idea - please get on with it - but there are many cubic meters to hold and it will all have to drain down the rivers eventually. Certainly any work to slow the flow' will help but the flood still has to go down the rivers eventually.

I don't have enough time to study SUDS and only concentrate on clearing the rivers, only reporting what I see and do not have the knowledge or the inclination to comment. Often the reasons of the flooding are manmade and people need to be brought to account.

Of course it is easy for me to sit at a computer and work out what is on the ground and make comments but it is a different matter doing the actual work. There are things like government departments, conservation agencies, land owners, insurance, committees, tree huggers, finance, etc to be sorted and the best people for this are the E.A. They have the expertise and the authority. The mechanical and excavation side can be solved by any contractor and I have an idea for a machine and conveyors that will get round the wild life disturbance and pollution problem if anybody is interested.

I have purposely tried not to make comments on doing any of the works required as there are better qualified people than me to work this out, but as a builder I have many ideas. Having asked people who used to work in the rivers, I have collected much local knowledge that may help in any decision making.

The fundamental problem is that the Environment Agency are not allowed to remove any build up of gravel in quantity, such as a clearing a whole river near a built up area, as was necessarily done pre- 1996 by local councils. The only way the E.A. can do anything is with a political decision, maybe even European, and this can only come about with political pressure. Please contact your local MP, newspapers and even radio and television - use this web site if you wish.

Regarding wild life in rivers, at Cockermouth there is so much gravel in the river below Gote Bridge the salmon will be swimming on nearly dry land and would probably appreciate a little clearance. At Ripon the works in and beside the river have so many men and big machines they have wrecked whole reaches of the river for months, people used to watch the kingfishers along Fisher Green but they are now gone, hopefully they will return. It must be better to do he job quietly and gently with small machines - a little every year.

The other big problem, if you have read the E.A. gravel extraction policy, is that all this work is now controlled by university graduates talking to university graduates (see extract - I still do not understand) producing a great many reports, see ‘Reports and Regulations’ which leaves the common man out of the loop - the paperwork alone for the $14,000,000 flood works in Ripon cost £497,000 - which alone would have paid for clearing the river and then some. This results in the awarding of major contracts using major contractors using big machinery and causing major disturbance to rivers, wildlife and people. Local authorities using local contractors on a yearly basis cause minimal disturbance all round and the wildlife has time and space to move around the works and survive. If the E.A. could facilitate flood works instead of preventing it by excessive cost, floods would be greatly reduced and the exchequer would benefit. Please give the flood responsibility back to the local councils, with E.A. help, they know from local knowledge what the problems are - ask the local farmers, landowners, water bailiffs and fisherman. That is where I go for help.

I hope you managed to understand the web site - only an amateur - it might help in any attempts to prevent flooding in future.