Thought I’d write something as I work at the Environment Agency so I’ve been on the inside of one of the organisations dealing with the recent horrendous floods in Warwickshire, Worcestershire and of course Gloucestershire (which fell within our area). Fortunately for me, I’m not actually in the flood team or I’d be walking around, like they are, with large bags under my eyes! However because of the sheer scale, we still got involved, helping to man the control centre in Gloucester and
supplying information about flooded sites, which might need to be monitored for pollution.

Having seen the hours people were putting in, it was sad and frustrating to see how quickly the criticisms began (a press ritual). This was rainfall on a ridiculous scale and I suspect that no amount of planning and response could have averted all flooding. There were also the bizarre stories such as the people who tried to steal temporary flood barriers, while they were still up and holding back the water. What were they thinking? One of the reasons that the barriers for Upton
are kept some distance away is because people try to steal them for scrap so they have to be kept at a centralised secure depot. It’s quite depressing really.

So now the worst seems over. Hopefully planners will rethink approaches to developing on flood-risk land and hopefully far more money will now come from government to spend on flood defences.

So that’s work, but on the campaigning side, awful as it’s been for those affected, I’m hoping it’s a wake up call to the government (and a lot of the public) that climate change is costly in many ways. Will it finally sink in that money spent now to minimise climate change will be money saved in the long run? If it doesn’t, then I really will despair.

Kate Nancarrow