MPs Insist That Natural Measures Are Key to Flood Prevention

The planting of trees and the slowing of water flow in rivers through natural means are just some of the ways a cross-party committee of MPs has proposed to be key in any flood prevention strategy. 

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (Efra) also criticised the government for its current ineffective flood prevention plans and insufficient funding, as well as the removal of the Environment Agency as the party responsible for flooding to be replaced by a dedicated floods authority and a flood commissioner.

These findings come at a time when many families are still recovering from the destruction left behind Storm Desmond, which caused over £5 billion worth of damage across the north of the UK alone.

The National Flood Resilience Review (NFRR) published its projections for extreme rainfall in September. However, their proposals have been accused of lacking long-term strategy and ignoring flash flooding, which alone threatens 3 million homes.

“We propose a radical alternative to the NFFR’s limited solutions to the current fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood risk management arrangements,” said Neil Parish, the MP who chairs the EFRA committee. 

He went on to say: “Our proposals will deliver a far more holistic approach to flooding and water supply management, looking at catchments as a whole.”

Other methods that Neil and his team have proposed include forcing housebuilders to make new homes more resilient to flooding and paying farmers to store water in fields.

All measure seems to suggest a change of tactics. Where once the philosophy was to get the rain water out to sea as quickly as possible, ways of retaining water inland and slowing water flow appears to be the direction the committee has proposed.

Schemes in Yorkshire and Somerset have already shown this to be a very effective solution. However, further large scale trials are needed before this strategy can be implemented across the country.