Saturday, July 07, 2007

Is Hull the Forgotten City?

Earlier on the Sky News paper review we talked about the worsening flood situation in Hull. The discussed provoked one of my readers, Andy, to send me this email, which I thought I would share with you.
Dear Iain,

As a daily reader of your blog and occasional 18 Doughty Street viewer, I was pleased to see you appearing on Sky News this evening. With regards to the discussion held by yourself and Michael Brown, I was also pleased to see my home city of Hull receiving some attention for the recent flooding we’ve had, and you both speaking compassionately about our stricken city.

Large swathes of Hull lie below sea level, and are protected from regular tidal flooding by the tidal barrier that lies on the River Hull where it meets the Humber Estuary. This guards us faithfully and has done all my life, however two weeks ago we saw weather totally unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Hour upon hour of torrential rain battered the city, and the defences just could not cope.

Virtually everyone in one of the dozen largest cities in England is either flooded out, or knows someone who is. Everyone is affected. A friend of mine called in some distress a while ago delivering the quite shattering news that they won’t be able to go home for a year. I can’t conceive of what that must be like. Now, this rather long-winded preface is meant to give a flavour of the situation, worsened by the fact that
many are reportedly unable to actually get insurance because of Hull’s low-lying
status, and that most of East Yorkshire lies on a flood plain.

I quite agree that people are responsible for their own actions. As a Conservative
myself, I am absolutely loathe to see the Government bailing out people who have
chosen not to safeguard themselves. Huge handouts of public money make me
instinctively anxious. But as I survey the wreckage of a permanently damaged city, my resolve wavers, and may dissolve further if it is true that some properties cannot obtain insurance – and yes, I accept that one should acknowledge the risks inherent in buying a house on a flood plain. But the situation is grave and the suffering is real. There’s no easy answer to this, and I find my principles warring with the scenes of ruin. I’m glad it’s a decision I don’t have to make. I’m even more glad I was spared anything more severe than a flooded garden and some damaged footwear.

Once again, thank you for a sympathetic voice on the television.

A truly terrible situation for all those affected. I suspect those who say if this had happened in Kensington & Chelsea much more would have been done, have a point. Wouldn't you have thought that the fact that Hull boasts Alan Johnson and John Prescott as two of its three MPs would make a bit of a difference to the government's responsiveness? Apparently not.


Ted Foan said...

Doesn't this just show how incompetent John Prescott has been as the Deputy Prime Minister when he can't even protect his own constituents' homes?

Now he's got some pointless sinecure in Europe - unpaid, admittedly, but probably full of plenty of EU expenses which will pay for Pauline's hair-do's for a few years before his eventual demise.

Anonymous said...

I am in East Yorkshire and I know people on low incomes and pensions who were not able to afford insurance. Their suffering is not lessened, or deserved, just because they not covered and don't live in Africa!
It wasn't just Hull, either. The whole of East Yorkshire was flooded and many thousands are still homeless. Hundreds of schools were flooded.
They need help. Now.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased that a blogger at last has given this very big issue some coverage other than just in passing. I was uneasy with how the old media have been giving it so much while a lot of blogs carried on like nothing happened or used the disasters to highlight their own agendas.

Thank you for being genuine on this issue.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

I don't know the first thing about insurance brokerage, but would brokers have more confidence in insuring homes if the Government had made the necessary £700m+ rolling investment needed in coastal defences, as pointed out by Private Eye?

Surely if coastal defences were maintained to an adequate standard, there would not be so many reservations over insuring homes?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it also be a sensible set of politicians who await the estimation of the damage before promising what is to be spent?

Until last weekend the Environment Agency was warning of further flooding in Hull - in the end that didn't happen, but therefore the clean up operation has only really just begun. I'm not a conservative but there has to be some realistic recognition of what, and when a government can do.
Hull probably should have received more media attention (although I note that the regional 'Look North' programme is broadcast from a new building in Hull "the forgotten city" - the spirit of Woodward & Bernstein not dead in the BBC clearly...). But I wonder if the leader of Hull Council hasn't whipped up a frenzy he either didn't expect or can control....

Anonymous said...

" As a Conservative
myself, I am absolutely loathe to see the Government bailing out people who have
chosen not to safeguard themselves."

yeah...spoken like a true Tory.The rules of self reliance only apply until you find in yourself in the crap...

Anonymous said...

Look at the Environment Agency Website and how many Labour Placemen sit on its board...yet has anyone heard Matt Frei rail against central government as the BBC did in new Orleans when earthen flood defences were breached and yes the local administration had a different political complexion from national government there too ?

Why don't we have Emergency Preparedness like the German THW with equipment and organisation ? THW

If we ever had a major terrorist attack on refineries or power stations the country would collapse, even foot & mouth was beyond the government - even though the reports into the Wilson Govt response had key answers.....this flooding is a disaster that should be used as a template for terrorist disaster - we had Civil Defence in the 1960s to deal with nuclear we cannot even coordinate flooding.

Has this country been so hollowed out the government is merely a TV Show ?

Anonymous said...



Newmania said...

Thats a tremendously good letter Iain and much the way I felt about it. Frankly with the level of waste and redistribution we are now at helping the people of Hull hardly breaks a principle but removing risk will , of course , create further risk in the long term.
Something I notice is that for all the bleating on about the fate of the Polar Bear by enviro fascists they have little interest in helping with what is by far the most pressing problem change in the climate produces . That is flooding and coastal integrity .There is a distinct feeling that middle class posturing looks a lot better in Africa than Hull ands the world is a better stage than the North. This is , no surprise .On the other hand it is an absolute lie that Insurance was not available ,it was ,and at very low cost . It is also a lie that it was beyond anyone’s budget , its a matter of choice.If my house was burgled ...which it was ..and I had not bought insurance , would the people of Hull be prepared to give me some of their money ,I doubt it .
Coast defences and the of rivers and waterways have been neglected in typical New Labour Style and because of the reorganisation of responsibility and this should be looked at .

Overall my feeling is this .Conservatism is not without humanity and this event has few precursors . Many people act without proper responsibility for their health but we do not wish to tip up dead bodies and remark “ See little Timmy , that’s what happens if you do not buy Insurance”. I think the people of Hull should be helped and we should think about a system of Catastrophe Nationale along the French lines . We are building increasingly in vulnerable areas and a repetition is inevitable . Better forward emergency planning might be handled in partnership with the Pool Insurers . A model exists for Terrorism and a model for major Catatrophe exists in France as mentioned.

Anonymous said...

It is also about a Council that has been badly run for years.

From 2004.
"Hull City Council is the poorest performing authority in England, according to an independent watchdog.

In a survey of 150 councils by the Audit Commission, Hull comes bottom of league tables and is rated as "poor". "

Anonymous said...

Give them help but take some equity in their homes in compensation.

Tapestry said...

Gordon Brown always used to make great play with his 'contingency fund' in the 1990's, in his 'prudence' time. No one even hears any of these words any longer, since Brown lost control of public spending after 2001.

Why did he never say - this is 'profligacy' time, when the word 'prudence' slipped from his vocabulary -so that people knew the government wouldn't have any money if an emergency occurred?

The money has all gone, that's for sure. And the gold and the oil. Where's the 'contingency fund' now, Gordon when we need it?

Labour have become disconnected from reality. We have a genuine natural disaster in what is now Brown's 'presidential' time. It doesn't fit the narrative, so it doesn't get media focus. Sorry, Hull, but you picked the wrong moment to become a disaster area.

I understand the stress and pain of floods, as we had them in Shrewsbury where I was living. Everything stops. It's like a war. People are in despair and misery as their houses, shops, pubs, schools are all taken out in one hit. John Prescott came round doing the 'we'll help you' bit. Walls were built and temporary defences can now be rushed out when the river rises. In those days Gordon hadn't given all our money away buying election victories, and funding the EU.

My advice is to call Prince Charles and ask him to come there and refuse to move until Gordon Brown puts in a personal appearance. The Queen will mention the situation at her weekly meeting with Gordon, and maybe the media will switch focus away from Al Quaeda. Start your campaign now.

Anonymous said...

I have tried to bring this to the attention of the media. In fairness, they have now given some coverage of the problems in Hull on Newsnight, with a very good report by Susan Watts, and belatedly Gordon Brown is visiting the north this weekend. Only after Prince Charles has already clocked up 2 visits. This is going to damage the government badly. What was amazing was that on Newsnight neither Alan Johnson nor John Prescott, or even Hazel Blears would bother to come on the programme, but left a more junior MP to face Paxo.

I think this is because they have a guilty conscience, because they know they have been asleep on the job in respect of flood defences.

I sense that when Gordon visits today there is going to be one of those 'Do you know what it's like to clear up your own mother's pi$$' moments from the 'Thick of It'...

Anonymous said...

I thought that Arcbishop Sentamu also made a very serious point on TV last night. He said, quite rightly, that these sorts of events hit the poorest the hardest. He is absolutley right. I was born and brought up in that area and I know how the severe flooding can be.

I too am pretty uncomfortable with the idea of the state bailing out people who will not insure their own property but then again if you cannot insure and something like this happens what else is there but the state? As I was watching the scenes from Hull last night I just kept thinking this is like New Orleans after Katrina all over again - poor people being hit hardest, a local authority overwhelmed, no sign of a central government response and families living in squalid conditions for years ever after.

The houses that have been flooded in Hull that are uninsured are most likely to be handed back to the mortgage companies if people cannot afford to repair them. I suspect a mass default on mortgages wil evoke a government response faster than you can imagine if the banks start demanding action.

Tapestry said...

Trying to get archbishops to make flooding into a banner for socialism is pathetic. Floods hit young, old, rich, poor alike - and insurance and debt affect everyone. The poor presumably rent and can get out more easily. If they own a house, are they poor?

This is typical media news management trying to get a narrative about the floods which suits Gordon Brown. He sees the politics of floods before he sees the human problem. That's why it's taken him so long to engage with the situation.

It's taken these thickos a week to work out how to tackle this in the media, and train Gordon what his lines should be.

The real issue isn't socialism. It's that Labour haven't done anything about planning for flood defences even though floods have been predicted for years. Labour are building in flood plains across the country as we know. The warnings are broadcast frequently.

That's the real question.

How come nothing's been done?

Is the answer the corruption that pervades government now, with local democracy neutralised by Prescott? Who is there to battle powerful interest groups that make billions by building on flood plains? Prescott? Don't make me laugh. What does he care about? Money - we are told.

Labour want you to think about the socialism of floods. Well think about Labour's own role for once - not their poxy narrative. They've been in power since 1997. The old stuff about 'it's the Tories yer know' don't wash any more. Labour have destroyed local democracy by neutralising councils so they can promote their regionalisation programme. That's the story that must not come out. So they go for good old socialism, and get a bishop to start the narrative for them.

Anonymous said...

As much as we can rail on about the people with 42in Plasma TV moaning about how they didn't buy insurance becuase it was too expensive, the letter writer is right is pointing out that the suffering is real and affects the poorest of the commuity.

Being a conservative doesn't mean you don't have a heart, and doesn't mean you can't help people who are in need of help, regardless if in some cases its through their own stupidity.

What should be looked at however is the reasons why the flooding had such an effect. Coastal defenses woefully underfunded. The lack of insurance cover for homes at risk (and every house should be insurable at a affordable level), and the sheer insanity of building on flood plain.

Unsworth said...

Yes Hull is rapidly becoming our New Orleans, with central government pathetically reiterating that 'everything possible' is being done, and local officials desperately trying to do something - anything - to alleviate the situation whilst fighting the bureacracy in London.

What the hell does 'everything possible' actually mean, anyway?

In the past we would have expected to see the Army helping the civil powers. Now that the Army is largely occupied elsewhere - and on matters which really are not our concern - there is little in the way of organised bodies who can help. Frankly this NuLabour government has completely buggered society.

I'm very sorry for those in Hull (and elsewhere) who have been so badly let down. These 'events' will come home to roost in the future, when things have not returned to 'normal' and elections loom. Centralisation of powers has led to an inability for matters to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

At least Prince Charles managed to show concern and visit. When do the senior Government figures get off their arses and take a good look at things? It might be nice if Brown could stir himself. After all, it's only a short trip by helicopter to get there, say half a day in total. Even he might see the PR value in that. Then again, he always runs from trouble.

Anonymous said...

This situation really made the London-centric nature of our national news hit home this week. I was shocked to see the situation in Hull and realise that we hadn't known about it for several days.

Even the coverage of the Toll Bar floods linked into this, as it was commented on that it was an hour-and-a-half nearer London than Hull, making it easier for reporters etc. to reach from London.

Bob Piper said...

Actually Iain, I heard your 'sympathetic voice' on Sky News too, and I quite agree that the face cream is working well (although it seems to have considerably more face to cover these days) but I'm afraid the hair restorer doesn't appear to be doing the job quite as well....

The Huntsman said...

Here is another open goalmouth into which party luminaries should be lining up to kick goals. Sadly nobody seems to be making an effort.

Imagine the late Robin Cook faced with this opportunity. It would have been lead item on the BBC every night for a week and more with every lip-curl, grimace and sneer of the wee Celtic Pixie up there in glorious technicolour.

The three constituencies in Hull all elect their MPs on a turnout of 45-47%. Whilst they might look like safe labour seats, a scenario such as this can prove terminal even for so entrenched a party as Labour is in city like Hull.

Instead everyone seems to engrossed with what is happening in Westminster or takes the view that it serves them right for not insuring their homes properly. One wonders if they have never heard of the "Nasty Party". Hague and Davis et al should be up there this weekend ringing with indignation at the inaction of Brown and his crew. Instead, nothing terribly much.

Makes you weep.

javelin said...

The BBC were chomping at the bit to have a go at Bush went he didn't help in New Orleans, but they won't raise a whisper against this Government.

Biased BBC, surely not.

Anonymous said...

"Wouldn't you have thought that the fact that Hull boasts Alan Johnson and John Prescott as two of its three MPs would make a bit of a difference to the government's responsiveness?"

Special favour for friends? Of course, that was the Tory way!

Anonymous said...

I am amazed that team Cameron has not made capital out of this- look what happened to George W Bush after New Orleans- DC should have gone there last week to steel a march on Brown

Anonymous said...

Where has all the money gone?? When the truth hits home that this disgusting government has wasted all the money on social engineering and corruption instead of investing it for the good of the British people maybe the media will finally start calling them to account.

Hopefully the impending economic collapse will rid us of these uncaring socialist rubbish for good.

Anonymous said...

Building on flood plains and cutting the budget for flood defences is partly to blame.

As for Gordon Brown. It looks like he's already been caught with his snout in the trough. The great tax baron caught using a tax dodge, how ironic, how typical......

Flat deal will mean tax savings for Brown

Gordon Brown gave his £700,000 flat in central London to his wife Sarah weeks before he moved into 10 Downing Street, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The Prime Minister’s wife then cashed in on recent soaring property prices by taking out a special type of mortgage against the value of the flat with a private bank......;jsessionid=ZQHMCQM25JDYFQFIQMGCFGGAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2007/07/07/nsarah107.xml

Anonymous said...

Why should central govt be in charge of Hull's flood defences? Why not Hull? Or at least the county? I thought Tories were supposed to believe in localism?

Anonymous said...

tax dodging brown> that Telegraph story is just the first of many.

I hear there are loads of Brown stories stored up and just waiting for their turn for publication. The Indie has a particularly juicy one from what I hear.

Anonymous said...

My Family for generations farmed in an area which is now subject to these Flood points. As a child I spent many memorable days wading through the fields flooded with the Winter and Spring rains. The Highpoint was always the sweet clear water Springs which could shoot up to a foot into the air. They came quickly and went just as quickly.
For those who know the Geography the area is water sodden Clay Marsh and Floodplain and until the 1970s was untouched for Building.
The River Hull has always flooded and along its course are Drains,resembling small rivers,interspersed with Pumping Houses,or Stations.
Our Forefathers knew of these consequences and were much wiser than todays, off the ped suited, computer Environmentalists and Planning Experts.
The New Labour Socialist Republic of Hull Planners went against the powers of nature 30 Years and now face the consequences of those Householders who are suffering.
Just shortly before he died my Father spoke of the return of the flooding, and the Springs gushing up beneath these Houses - how right is the wisdom of our forefathers.
For 30 years we have escaped todays misery, partly because the water table has been well below natural levels because of excessive pumping. It is unlikely that there can be a long lasting solution against mans challenge of nature.
The Planners must understand Flood Plains.

AnyoneButBrown said...

It's the government's New Orleans moment. An arrogant and remote executive and media appears oblivious to the face of the flooding-induced suffering of poor people far from the capital city. It takes a concerted campaign to raise awareness, and only then does the executive act....when it looks like bad PR
New government? New priorities? Change?
I think not

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Hull? Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't tear down the defences and flood the place years ago. Not for nothing has it been named the most 'crap' town & worst place to live in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Build houses on a flood plain...and???...they will get flooded...Duh!

Anonymous said...


Tom Richmond:A deluge of misery and a trickle of support

TORY leader David Cameron's reshuffle of Shadow Cabinet nonentities was another insult to the North.

All four MPs to join his new top team represent constituencies in the South – further evidence that Mr Cameron is still under-estimating the electoral challenge that his party faces in this region.

The token Northerner was Tory vice-chairman Sayeeda Warsi, the party's candidate in Dewsbury at the last election who had been tipped for a glittering Commons career if she secured a safe seat before the next election.

Now she has been given a peerage so she can fulfil her new role as Shadow Communities Secretary.

However talented Sayeeda Warsi is, what's the point of having a key spokeswoman in the Lords when the real Secretary of State sits in the Commons?

At least Hazel Blears has the advantage of having been elected by the people.

ONE casualty of the Tory reshuffle was the constitutional affairs spokesman Oliver Heald, who was also the party's Shadow Minister for Sheffield.

He was supposedly responsible for promoting the Conservative Party in the South Yorkshire city, though I note that Mr Heald was absent during the floods.

When I asked the Conservative head office who their new spokesman was for Sheffield, a minion told me that she didn't realise that they had such an individual.

In other words, David Cameron's concept of city champions is no more than a gimmick.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Hull the armpit of the east coast?

Flatten it!

Anonymous said...

Not for nothing has it been named the most 'crap' town & worst place to live in Britain.

July 07, 2007 10:50 AM

but VOTERS DO live there

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Why should central govt be in charge of Hull's flood defences? Why not Hull? Or at least the county? I thought Tories were supposed to believe in localism?

July 07, 2007 9:52 AM

Iain you have some really dim posters hiding behind anonymity...who know so little about this country and how it functions they must have just got off the truck from Sangatte...

Safeguarding your home

Around 5 million people, in 2 million properties, live in flood risk areas in England and Wales. The Environment Agency has an important role in warning people about the risk of flooding, and in reducing the likelihood of flooding from rivers and the sea.

Managing Flood Risk
Managing flood risk has never been more important

Over 2 million properties in England and Wales are at risk from flooding. Changes in our climate, such as more severe storms and wetter winters, will increase that risk.

Through flood risk management, we can reduce the probability of flooding from rivers and the sea through the management of land, river systems, and flood and coastal defences. We also work to reduce the damage floods can do through effective land use planning, flood warning and emergency responses.

Exercise Triton 04 was a national flood exercise covering an extreme event. The aim was to test the nation's ability to work together and deal with such extensive flooding. Read about what we learned and how we plan to improve in the future.

Who took part?

Over 60 organisations and agencies took part nationally, regionally and locally. Teams of people based at 35 locations were presented with the emergency scenario and asked to respond as they would if the events were real. Each team had to make decisions that included how to evacuate hundreds of thousands of people; inform and warn the public via the media; what resources they needed and what the priorities were; if they needed military aid; how to communicate up and down the chain of command and whether they needed emergency powers.

Day one focused on handling the emergency. Day two was about developing recovery plans. These plans looked at what was needed to get local communities, regions and the nation back to normal within a year.

For many of the people who took part one of the most successful parts of the exercise was how willing and enthusiastic everyone was to work together in responding to the crisis.

The Board
The Environment Agency is a non-departmental public body (NDPB). Legally, the Board constitutes the Environment Agency and is directly responsible to Government Ministers for all aspects of our organisation and performance. We are accountable to Parliament through Ministers.

We have a board of 14 members, including the Chairman and Chief Executive, who are accountable to Ministers for organisation and performance. All are appointed by the Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, except for Malcolm Smith, the Board Member for Wales, who is appointed by the National Assembly for Wales. The Board meets six times a year and delegates day-to-day management to the Chief Executive and staff.

In each region, three committees advise on the operational performance of our functions, regional issues of concerns and regional implications of national policy proposals. These committees are the Regional Fisheries, Ecology and Recreation Advisory Committee (RFERAC), Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) and the Regional Environment Protection Advisory Committee (REPAC). There is also an advisory committee for Wales.

Committee members are appointed under statutory membership schemes designed to achieve representation from a wide range of our stakeholders. All REPAC meetings are advertised locally and the public is welcome to attend.

The Environment Agency Board is comprised of the following members:

Sir John Harman (Chairman)
Barbara Young (Chief Executive)
James Brathwaite CBE
Peter Bye DL
Ted Cantle CBE
John Edmonds
Prof Ruth Hall
Richard Percy
Dr Lyndon Stanton
Cllr Kay Twitchen OBE
Dr Malcolm Smith
Lady Suzanne Warner OBE
Prof Lynda Warren
Lord Larry Whitty

Barbara Young took up the post of Chief Executive of the Environment Agency in December 2000.

Barbara Young’s early career was spent in public relations and in health services management. She was Chairman then President of the Institute of Health Services Management from 1986 to 1988, and a King’s Fund International Fellow in 1985-86 and 1990-1991.

Ted Cantle CBE

Significant interests include:

Associate Director, Performance Support, at the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).
Chair of the charity 'Sustainability First'.
Chair of the Chief Executive's National Panel (SOLACE) on Environmental issues.
Chair of the Government's Independent Advisory Panel on Community Cohesion.
Visiting Professor, Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.

Sir John Harman is currently Chairman of the Environment Agency, which he has served, first as a Board member and then as Deputy Chairman since its inception in 1996.

Sir John Harman was educated at Manchester University and Huddersfield College of Education and was a teacher and lecturer until July 1997. Elected to the West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council in 1981, he served until 1986. He was elected to Kirklees Metropolitan Council in 1986 and led that Authority from 1986 to 1999. From July 1999 to June 2000 he was the first Leader of the Regional Assembly for Yorkshire and Humberside.
He was Vice Chairman of the Association of Metropolitan Authorities from 1992 until the formation of the Local Government Association in 1997, when he became Deputy Leader of the Labour Group and Chair of the LGA Urban Commission, until taking up his present position in January 2000.

Lady Suzanne Warner OBE

Significant interests include:

Project Director for private sector initiative to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid in natural disasters occurring outside the UK

Vice Chair of Council of University of Sussex

John Edmonds

Significant interests include:

Non-Executive Director of the Carbon Trust.
Non-Executive Director of Salix Finance.
Visiting Research Fellow of King's College, London.
Vice President of the National Society for Clean Air.

Former appointments include:

General Secretary of GMB Trade Union.
President of TUC.
Member of Executive of European Trade Union Confederation.
Forestry Commissioner.
Member of Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution

Anonymous said...

First of all to compare Hull with New Orleans is absurd, yes there has been damage etc. but nothing on that sort of scale. Isn't it about time that full house insurance, contents and all was made mandatory? Conservatives going around calling for state intervention, whatever next, electing a socialist as party leader: whoops sorry, you already have.!

Anonymous said...

As Hull "boasts" THREE Labour MPs - Alan Johnson, John Prescott and a woman whose name escapes me - it seems a bit strange those three apparently didn't notice their constituents had been flooded out of their homes.

Clearly, they didn't, as none of them mentioned it in the House or to the Press in the last week, did they?

Come to think of it, don't those three have houses in Hull? Were they flooded too? Or do they go there so seldom they've no idea?

Anonymous said...

Professor Lynda Warren

Significant interests include:
Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, specialising in environmental matters, qualified in zoology and law.
Member of Committee of Radioactive Waste Management Committee.
Member Commission on Environmental Law, IUCN and Commission on Protected Areas, IUCN. Trustee of WWF-UK.

Peter Bye

Significant interests include:
Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Suffolk.
Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.
Trustee of the Kerrison Trust for disadvantaged children.
Member, Environment Council.

Former appointments include:
Chairman of Anglian Regional Flood Defence Committee.
Chairman, Independent Inquiry into Easter 1998 Floods ("Bye Report" October 1998).
Chairman of The Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust.
Non-Executive Director Strategic Health Authority.
Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council.
Director of Social Services, Suffolk County Council.
Honorary Secretary to the Standing Conference of East Anglian Local Authorities.
Deputy Chairman of Suffolk's Training and Enterprise Council.
Chair of the National Development Team for People with Learning Disabilities.
Member of the Council of the British Red Cross Society.
Member of the Centre for Policy on Ageing.

Dr Lyndon Stanton

Significant interests include:

Deputy Chairman, The Churches Conservation Trust and member of its Audit Committee.
Emeritus Chairman and Trustee of the Prince of Wales' Phoenix Trust for historic buildings preservation and Chairman of its Finance and Audit Committee.
Trustee Norden Farm Centre for the Arts and Chairman of its Finance and Audit Committee.
Court Assistant, the Worshipful Company of Horners.
Freeman of the City of London.

Former appointments include:
Board member of Earthwatch Europe.
Formerly President and Chief Executive Lyondell Chemical Europe (previously
Arco Chemical Europe).
Various management positions in ICI and ICI Europa.

Cllr. Kay Twitchen OBE

Significant interests include:

Elected Member, Essex County Council, and Chairman of the Environment Policy Development Group
Board Member, WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme).
Hon Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, and Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
Alternate member, Committee of the Regions

Former appointments include:

Chairman, Waste and Environmental Management Executive of the Local Government Association.
Chairman, Anglian Region REPAC.
Board Member, Southend Hospital NHS Trust.
Vice-Chairman of Environment Committee, CEMR (Council of European Municipalities and Regions).
Non-executive Director and Vice-Chairman of ExWaste Limited.
President of ASSURRE Europe (Association for the Sustainable Use and Recovery of Resources in Europe).
Chairman of ReMaDe Essex (Recyclables Market Development).

John Lawrence Whitty, Baron Whitty, PC (born 15 June 1943), known as Larry Whitty, is a British Labour Party politician.

Born in 1943, Whitty was educated at Latymer Upper School and graduated from St John's College, Cambridge with a BA (Hons) degree in Economics. He worked for Hawker Siddeley Aviation from 1960 to 1962 and at the Ministry of Aviation Technology from 1965 to 1970.

He was employed by the Trades Union Congress from 1970 to 1973 and the General Municipal Boilermakers and Allied Trade Union from 1973 to 1985.

In 1985, Whitty became the General Secretary of the Labour Party, a post he held until 1994. He oversaw the 1987 and 1992 general elections and presided over many changes in the Party, including the expulsion of Militant Tendency and the election of John Smith and Tony Blair as Leaders of the Party. He was the European Co-ordinator for the Labour Party from 1994 to 1997.

Larry Whitty was created a Life Peer in 1996 as Baron Whitty, of Camberwell in the London Borough of Southwark. From July 1998, Lord Whitty was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions with responsibility for roads and road safety issues. From 1997 Lord Whitty was a Lord-in-Waiting (Government Whip) covering education and foreign affairs. Lord Whitty became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DEFRA with responsibility for Farming, Food and Sustainable Energy in June 2001, serving in this position until the general election of May 2005.

Now let's see how Britain's equivalent of FEMA looks....seemingly all the talent to cope with Flooding lies in Labour Party membership......but remember FEMA

Michael D. Brown, Director FEMA...

# "DHS and FEMA lacked adequate trained and experienced staff for the Katrina response."
# "The readiness of FEMA’s national emergency response teams was inadequate and reduced the effectiveness of the federal response."
# "Long-standing weaknesses and the magnitude of the disaster overwhelmed FEMA’s ability to provide emergency shelter and temporary housing."
# "FEMA logistics and contracting systems did not support a targeted, massive, and sustained provision of commodities."
# "Before Katrina, FEMA suffered from a lack of sufficiently trained procurement professionals."

"For years emergency management professionals have been warning that FEMA’s preparedness has eroded. Many believe this erosion is a result of the separation of the preparedness function from FEMA, the drain of long-term professional staff along with their institutional knowledge and expertise, and the inadequate readiness of FEMA’s national emergency response teams. The combination of these staffing, training, and organizational structures made FEMA’s inadequate performance in the face of a disaster the size of Katrina all but inevitable.

Before joining the DHS/FEMA, Brown was the Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association, (IAHA), from 1989-2001

Sounds as well-qualified as the Environment Agency for the tasks....

If we had serious government we would make it COMPULSORY for developers to provide INSURANCE when they build in flood plains and for the Developer to provide cover in perpetuity through Lloyds of London.

They should be made - as in Texas - to create Municipal Utility Districts and pay for ALL utility connections, land drainage, insurance etc BEFORE being allowed to submit building plans......and the shareholders of any builder should carry the liability on their balance sheet

Anonymous said...

newmania said:

we do not wish to tip up dead bodies and remark “ See little Timmy , that’s what happens if you do not buy Insurance”. I think the people of Hull should be helped and we should think about a system of Catastrophe Nationale along the French lines.

Well said, newmania. We simply cannot send massive amounts of aid overseas while ignoring the plight of our own people suffering as the result of catastrophic events

We must help the people of Hull. However, surely it's now time to have a national insurance system for natural disasters which affect whole commununties. That's the only way we will overcome the problem of the many people who insist on living in the hands of fate by refusing to insure themselves.

Auntie Flo'

Tapestry said...

Lots of letters after some posh names, but any money to spend?
The political silence tells you something. Is there something to hide? Maybe that the flood defence budget was cut to pay EU fines.

Gordon Brown is desperate to cut and run for an election before the economy crunches on rising interest rates. Floods and terrorism are not in the script. The sooner this all goes away, he can call out his electioneering troops.

The folk in Hull have a great opportunity to unsettle Gordon Brown and ensure he coughs up real money.

By railroading his election timetable, Brown will get desperate to get it back on track. Hull must ensure that floods wobble the Gordon Brown 'moral compass'(read -election timetable) if they really want help.

Anonymous said...

For crying out loud this is not Labour or Conservative or Libdem argument ,it's a problem, a people problem how do we get these people back to normal living quickly ,with or without insurance or is the only thing going in town f----in Al Gore and his carbon footprint set to music.

Anonymous said...

Since when does the average tory give a toss.

see Anonymous at, July 07, 2007 5:39 AM, this is the true Tory position in Hull.

In fact Im suprised that we havent had a Tory blogger blaming Brown and Blair for the rain

jailhouselawyer said...

It is good that this issue has finally got onto the political agenda. However, as Hull's premier blogger I was blogging on this from the start. You and Mike Rouse may humbly kneel down and kiss my feet to make amends.

And don't forget to raise this issue, why did the NHS ban staff from taking crisis leave during the obvious crisis of the Great Flood?

Anonymous said...

Why is no mention ever made of getting financial support from the EU, which I believe is always forthcoming when floods have occured on mainland Europe (or are our politicians too proud or prefer to indulge in political points scoring over other's misery?)

Despite the claims of some batty bishop nobody deserves what has happened to people who have been flooded BUT those who say that people can't afford to buy home insurance (and some still managed to afford very nice wide screen TVs etc) the response really ought to be that after this people really cannot afford not to buy it. (I do accept that some insurance companies will not touch certain areas because of flood risk BTW)

Sorry, harsh but still plain fact, the real problem is that in this nanny state many people actually believe that whatever misfortune happens it is up to the government to bale them out.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.. Iain, Torygraph, Daily Moan, and the Daily Express are currently engaged in a pathetic attempt to demonstrate that the problems in Hull are similar to that in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. ( This premise almost certainly cam from Tory HQ spin merchants ) Ie trying to show that the governments response mirrors that of GW Bush s response. The Tories couldn’t give a monkey about Hull and to pretend otherwise is very disingenuous.

Anonymous said...

The revenge of the Gods on the Adultery of Prescott and the Lying and Coniving of Johnson.
Has there been a news blackout on the floods in Hull for Political Reasons? Looking at the Media during tas thr hs been little on the subject nationally.Maybe Prezza has not been aware? Where has he been for the last 10 Days?

Tapestry said...

Auntie Flo' - National Insurance?

We used to have that, but Gordon Brown converted it into a tax. Youi can't trust governments to handle money. You must know that by now.

Anonymous said...

Flood Cuts

The cost-cutting has been ordered largely to make up for losses incurred in a disastrous revamp of the farm subsidy system.Leaked letters seen by the Guardian from Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the agency, show the government is seeking urgent cuts in budgets across the department.

Yet Blair can happily increase the UK contribution to the EU Budget by £2 billion a year nett......

Anonymous said...


UK 'could suffer Katrina-style flooding'

Press Association
Tuesday August 22, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Experts today accused ministers of ignoring the lessons of Hurricane Katrina, warning that the kind of deluge that overwhelmed New Orleans a year ago could not be ruled out in Britain.

Although the UK was likely to be spared the effects of a category five hurricane, the experts said the possibility of flooding caused by storm surges, high tides and heavy rain was real

Anonymous said...

In some respects Kingston-Upon-Hull is a little bit like New Orleans. The surrounding Drains are several feet above ground level and the pumps clearly could not cope. Once upon a time,in memory, a man lived on site to monitor the water level-- today it is the good old computer, no doubt programmed incorrectly. These Pumping Stations and Drains surround Hull. I think the disaster is Human contempt and arrogance against the History and unpredictability of Nature.
The Conservatives can rest assured they have no history of being in charge in this Socialist Hotbed.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that will come out of this will be the reckoning ,if people don't have help ,people do remember and have votes ,help is required to NOW for all flooded area's ,not argument's ,Labour,Conservative's and Libdem's should get off their ar-e's and sort something out.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you have thought that John Prescott would not approve the building plans since he knew the houses could flood?

Anonymous said...

PM puts in 14mil support package ,the insurance puts it at 1.5bil ,what's the 14mil for to sort out his mates flooded gardens.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take much to turn you into a big wet ninny does it Iain?

A few squeals from Labour voting uninsured chavs 'oop north and you're wanting to parachute millions of taxpayers money onto 'em so they can replace the 42" plasma's in every room in the house and go on a drug/drink/ciggie splurge.

Polly Toynbee must be so proud of you.

Anonymous said...

And Hull is just the tip an iceberg.

Red warning flags of wide scale flooding to come are going up all over the SE too - thanks to the government pressurising local authorities here into massive development schemes on and near flood plains.

My street, like so many others in Harlow and elsewhere in the SE, has flooded numerous times. I've been fortunate so far, the flood water has not yet flooded inside my home but many in Harlow and the rest of the SE have not been so fortunate.

This is not climate related flooding, it's development related.

Auntie Flo'

Kris said...

hey ho, GB's "new" government wants to solve all our problems by building cheapo homes on the Thames Gateway.

I shouldn't think any reputable insurance company wil cover those risks either.

Kris said...

Jailhouse asked: "why did the NHS ban staff from taking crisis leave during the obvious crisis of the Great Flood?"

I give up - something to do with the Doctor Jihadis they've employed?

Anonymous said...

Forget all the spin from Brown. There's going to be no "building boom" on flood plains or anywhere else anytime in the next 10 years or more.

The UK is heading rapidly into a credit crunch, house price crash, recession, and (probably) stagflation.

There won't be much will, incentive, demand, or finance about for a major house building campaign when that little lot hits us.

Anonymous said...

Flooding is about the best thing that could happen to Hull. Perhaps now people can consider the options around evacuation and abandonment. the city has been hollowing out for years as people vote with their feet to leave a shithole of a place to live somewhere decent. Housing demand has been at rock bottom for years, and their is considerable underoccupation and abandonment in areas around the centre. there are few jobs and as a consequence, there is little economic or social logic to living in Hull any more.

The council's response has been to plough money into follies like "the Deep" aquarium and waste the massive windfall of the Kingston Telecoms sell off on doing up council homes no-one wants to live in. They could have spent the money on flood defences if they had been serious about their responsibilities as civic leaders. certainly now is not the time for them to claim anything from the Government, which has been bailing them out and tolerating their utter incompetence for years.

The sad truth is that without the DPM in charge of the ministry responsible for local government, something would probably have been done about the pitiful state of their council leadership and officers. But with the fat twat around, civil servants were pressured into letting them get on with ruining their city.

Anonymous said...

One of the red flags - in Harlow:

On a high density housing development (10,000 people, 75% of it at 196 people per hectare) on high ground above the flood plain where I live.

An experimental system of reed beds, 'balancing ponds' and a 'balancing reservoir' pumps out its huge volume of excess waste water into surrounding fields, ditches and streams.

The water floods out of those fields and runs in torrents down our roads, blocking gullies and flooding our streets. I've filmed this.

Our streams, which were once meandering brooks half an inch deep, are transformed into raging torrents. The development's main sewer has been flooding into the stream which passes just yards from my house for 18 months - 2 years.

This development has raised and overloaded our water table and sewers. Yet, further massive development, with more 'balancing ponds', is to be dumped near here.

A Public Inquiry into flooding, the policy of building on and near flood plains and these experimental flood prevention schemes is urgently required.

But do the Conservatives care enough to press for one?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

The council's response has been to plough money into follies like "the Deep" aquarium and waste the massive windfall of the Kingston Telecoms sell off on doing up council homes no-one wants to live in.

They would have done better to drive a motorway right into the docks and make getting in and out of the port fast and easy......they could have built proper shopping and port facilities instead of a place just two notches above that pit that is Zeebrugge.

A train link from Liverpool to Hull to carry freight would reduce load on the M62 with railhead-dsepots and swap-bodied trucks to move freight would same time, fuel, and energy.

It should be end-to-end Belfast to Aachen as a gatway between Atlantic and Mainland Europe - you would not need the Channel Tunnel in nOrthern England if they moved people from LIverpool straight onto the high-speed rail networks in Belgium and Holland with access to the whole of Europe

Anonymous said...

The flooding in the Midlands, South Yorkshire and Humberside is apparently the worst in the UK since the East Coast was inundated in 1953. Given this context, it's clear that a State of Emergency should have been declared over a week ago to get soldiers and equipment to the worst affected areas to help with evacuations, rescues, house clearing, the associated waste disposal, reopening schools, etc.

Given the scale of the disaster, re-establishing the affected communities should take priority over issues of individuals' insurance status.

The Prime Minister has just released £14 million for flood relief, but this is 1% or less of the total bill for restoring the affected areas.

This lethargic and inadequate response shows that spending 10 years in the Treasury is no preparation for becoming Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

This flooding has a present and a future ,the present is help needed to sort these people out,the future is remembering where the help came from ,but it seems to me the conservatives are the usual Iam alright jack,our dave needs northern votes if he wants to be in power so does labour ,in a few years time,when voting starts ,will our dave or gordon be pm ,interesting times.

Tapestry said...

Hull the link from America? maybe.

But re housing - if we don't spread housing outwards into flood plains, there are other options.

High rise is the way most countries build once they are choca. This is better for energy efficiency as public transport can be linked more easily to more densely packed population, and you don't get suburban sprawl.

We need to build high rise on the high ground. 40 storeys not 10 as in the kind of housing built in the 1950's. It's the norm in Asia. It must come to Britain - or we drown.

Anonymous said...

Prescott is a trained scuba diver too.

Anonymous said...

A news item on BBC News 24 covering the visit by Gordon to part of the flooded areas in the North had an interview with a local. He commented that not much had been done until news of Gordon's visit - then activity bustled forth!!

So, spin is in the past Gordon eh?

No, y're more concerned about your 'constitutional' window-dressing than real people's plight.

Had it been in Africa then the 'Live Earth' delusionalists would have really been wingeing.

Anonymous said...

tapestry said...

if we don't spread housing outwards into flood plains...We need to build high rise on the high ground...It must come to Britain - or we drown.

Much of the high ground in Eastern England and the SE is above flood plains. Build there and, as we're seeing, you flood the town below.

Large scale development imports huge quantities of water into areas which lack the vital sewage and waste water infrastructure to cope with such huge pressures.

Developers forced to put adequate new infrastructure in place will lose money.

The government won't finance the massive investment required either - it would suck up far more than the profits they make from selling inflated priced pieces of land in the SE to developers.

Hence all of these cheaper experimental waste water and 'flood prevention' schemes using reed beds and balancing ponds/reservoirs - and the failed schemes to reduce our water consumption by 25%.

Reason enough, I beleive, to say that we cannot continue overheating the SE with uncontrolled migration and out of control housing development.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

The only contribution by Prezza was using his own water cock to screw with.

Anonymous said...

There's also the massive cost of replacing our water treatment and sewage works which, in the SE, are buckling under the pressure of the huge levels of development here.

Auntie Flo'

The Hitch said...

Serves them right for voting Labour.
I say leave them wallowing in sewage if they haven't insured their own homes.
No doubt this episode will lead to mass repossessions and some golden opportunities for propery developers , leave it to the market to sort it out.
No hand outs to the feckless beyond tarpaulins , water and some tinned food.
If Africans and Asians can live under canvas for a couple of years so can the Residents of Hull.

Anonymous said...

Hitch it appears your wish has been granted ,Brown has given a £14million package for roads etc,thats it.

Caring,sharing,Labour goverment.

Yak40 said...

A bit OT. Some Katrina comparisons are valid but maybe oversimplified.
Bush offered National Guard two days before but was refused by the state Governor (Feds have to be invited into a state - something most media ignored in their hysteria).
If FEMA Brown was so bad why did his handling of multiple hurricanes in Florida the previous season go largely uncriticised?
Most of the blame in New Orleans should fall on state and local governments' ineptitude and dubious spending of anti-flood funds over the years, but hey, it's New Orleans, a cesspool of corruption.
BTW An area the size of England (in Mississippi) was wrecked by Katrina, don't hear much about that do you ? That's because they have competent state government and are getting on with the rebuilding job.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the media - especially the BBC - gave blanket coverage of New Orleans .... taking the opportunity to pour scorn on George Bush - even though it was a Louisiana state responsibility.

Hull, God that's somewhere north of Watford ain't it. Can't expect us to take any interest in that.

Tapestry said...

yak40. New Orleans was a bit more technical than has been explained by media.

The dredging of the Mississipi had removed a number of sandbanks to assist large ships to navigate the estuary. These sandbanks had in the past protected the City, but in the light of Katrina's lessons, are now being allowed to reform.

The City had held meetings to propose artificial wind and wave breakers be built out in the bay, but wealthy householders had objected as they would have spoiled the view. These objections ae now being overruled since katrina.

The third point not generally understod concerns the levees. It was reported that these were not high enough. More height would not have made any difference, as the water broke through under the levee walls. The problem is that they don't go down to clay, and they need a stronger base.

So much politics has been created out of Katrina, that not much of the simple issues as to how to stop hurricanes destroying New Orleans in the future, has made it out into the airwaves.

Anonymous said...

The fact remains that Matt Frei went on ad nauseam and ad hominem about Katrina and FEMA and the BBC seems to focus more on Live Aid Concerts than their ;luicence payers who are flooded out is amazing what an easy ride the Labour-dominated Environment Agency and DEFRA are getting....reports in the Yorkshire Post front page suggest Alan Johnson is accusing the Council in Hull of exaggerating the damage....


Hull West and Hessle MP and Cabinet member Alan Johnson last night accused Hull Council of exaggerating the extent of the recent flooding.
The Health Secretary said the number of homes affected was likely to be nearer 5,000 than the 16,000 described by Hull Council leader Carl Minns.

He said: "Our worry is the council is exaggerating the problem and that is going to make life difficult. The figures are not as stark as they are saying."

He also dismissed claims it would cost at least £200m to clean the city. "I don't think it will be anything like that figure," he said.

Roger Thornhill said...

I am going to go against the consensus here.

In Hull, you buy a house on a flood plain. The value of that house is lower than those not on a flood plain. You do not pay insurance because you cannot get it.

Someone lives off a flood plain. Their house costs more. They pay insurance.

When we have a flood, those who got a cheaper house and did not pay insurance get Taxpayers money.

How much for new decoration, a DFS sofa, telly, etc? Compare that to the cost of the house vs others not in such a risky location including the costs of servicing the mortgage.

Do that before saying people have lost out.

Tragic though the flooding is, if anyone feels strongly about it, contribute your OWN money, don't go all Polly Toynbee on us and start asking the country's favourate extortioner to force everyone else to pay up.

Anonymous said...

When I was a child, I lived in a house that was flooded once or twice when the local river overflowed. I now live in Hull, close to the River Hull. My house was unaffected because the problem was not rivers bursting their banks but the sheer volume of rain falling where there was not adequate drainage to carry the water away quickly enough. My area had adequate drainage - the effect was no different from any period of heavy rain - but others clearly did not.

Anonymous said...

Hull may suffer from a history of appalling councils (marked by partisanship and incompetence) and some run-down areas, but it is nonetheless quite an attractive place to live. It fared badly in the 'worst place to live' survey because of tightly drawn city boundaries - all the nice suburbs are outside the city limits. You can live well for relatively low cost and transport links mean that it is no longer isolated. It is remarkably popular with university students, who seem to love the place.

Yak40 said...

Don't you have to have insurance if you have a mortgage ? Or does everyone pay cash oop there ? (ducking)

Anonymous said...

The value of that house is lower than those not on a flood plain.

Interesting a matter of reference could you provide examples, say different post codes where you have observed this phenomenon.....?

My theoretical point - to set against your experience of Hull - would be that given a perfectly elastic supply of credit all houses will rise to a similar price in a given area without much variation......

but you have contrary evidence and I should like to see it Roger

Anonymous said...

Don't quite understand the comments about what Cameron should be doing about all this.

Labour Government, Labour Council, so why and how could the Leader of the Opposition take action? Go and visit them? Can you imagine the flak he'd get for 'politicising' this problem? And other than P Charles, I can imagine the authorities have better things to do than traipse around with the Leader of the Opposition.

I would have expected the three local MPs to have been working with the local Council to be improve flood defences for years, not coughing up emergency funding now.

Finally, if (I don't know the city) there has been much building on flood plains as alleged, then someone should start a class action suing the planning authorities for permitting unsafe building.

ps. my old Dad used to say 'never buy a house at the bottom of a hill, or in the middle of steep sloping garden'. By 'eck, t'owld boy were right. (Well, actually, he didn't speak like that, because he came from Central Europe, but you get the idea)

Anonymous said...

Labour Government, Labour Council,

NO Judith....Labour Government but LibDem Council....the Labour Mafia was ousted...which is why Conservatives should help them dislodge 3 Labour MPs - two of whom are senior Labour Ministers

Chris Paul said...

You could get Jailhouse to do a guest blog, or a Doughty appearance. He's in Hull.

Anonymous said...

roger thornhill - What is wrong with Polly Toynbee ? She is an intelligent and erudite woman. A little better educated than you as well, it would appear.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:

What is wrong with Polly Toynbee ? She is an intelligent and erudite woman. A little better educated than you as well, it would appear

See Factchecking Pollyanna:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
(I do accept that some insurance companies will not touch certain areas because of flood risk BTW)

Sorry, harsh but still plain fact, the real problem is that in this nanny state many people actually believe that whatever misfortune happens it is up to the government to bale them out.

July 07, 2007 11:48 AM

Sorry, you are wrong on that point. Certain areas that are prone to flooding cannot be insured against flood risk.

Anonymous said...

erudite woman

which part of her education did she ever complete ?

Anonymous said...

judith said...

Don't quite understand the comments about what Cameron should be doing about all this.

Communities and Local Government Website states:

"Won't all of this development increase flood risk?..."

"Around 10% of the total land in England lies within areas of flood risk, including large areas of EASTERN ENGLAND, LONDON, HULL AND YORK.

There are compelling social and economic reasons for development to continue in these areas, but we must manage the flood risk so that new development is safe and sustainable."

Cameron should be asking who cocked up the assessment of the risk and the measures needed to combat it.

The Hull floods were due to the existing drainage system being overwhelmed and collapsing during heavy rain. Cameron should be asking why this was allowed to happen.

He should ask the government to explain why they continue to push for huge levels of development on and around flood plains, such as Hull's, without requiring provision of adequate additional drainage facilities.

He should be asking why development is allowed to erode vital green wedges around and above water courses in flood plain. These green fields act like giant sponges, absorbing rainwater run off and flood water - but not if developed.

Concrete and develop over these green fields, as we are doing, and its like plasticising the sponge - the result is a catastrophic increase in rainwater runoff and an equally catastrophic reduction in floodwater absorbancy.

Development around a flood plains can increase rainwater runoff into the floodplain and its water courses by 30%.

If 1000 gallons of water runs off a 2000 sq foot roof during a storm generating 1 inch of rainfall, imagine how much water runs off a development of 10,000 houses (or Prescott's target of 4.5 million) and you get some idea of the catastrophe awaiting many millions of us as our climate changes.

Am I correct in believing that 7,000 to 10,000 houses have been built at Hull? If so, Cameron should be asking how much the capacity of Hull's drainage systems have been increased to cope with this. The answer is obviously not enough.

Cameron should be examining how many other towns - like Harlow - are being placed at risk of flooding by development around flood plains without the prerequisite upgrading of drainage systems.

Above all, he should be questioning why massive over-development is being focussed on just those areas in the East which are most at risk of flooding because they are largely flood plain.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

And the answer to these questions Cameron should be asking about all of this flooding in the East of England is, of course, the EU.

The EU, to the East of UK, has decided to develop and overheat the 'hot banana' (what used to be called the 'industrial arc' when I was at school) of the Eastern England and Western Europe.

Begger the catastrophic consequences for Eastern England of the EU's irrational, one size fits all policy. England, post treaty/Constitution, is one of the United States of Europe, so we must do as we're told and fit the EC's utopian plan for us all - even to our own substantial detriment.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

These areas now flooded were always flooded. I can remember in the 1950s the fields were continually flooded in the winter.
Farmers planted in the Autumn and winter with pot luck as their main measure of success. Also it tells us all a lot when garden and nursery farming with great glasshouses covered much of this area because of the flood silt.
In one answer,building was folly and their is no solution to the great wash of water which flows off the Yorkshire Wolds into the River Hull.

Anonymous said...

In 1962 the City of Hamburg suffered major flooding and 315 people died. A Senator of that city took charge and gained a reputation for strong resolute action upon which his political career was built, his name was Helmut Schmidt.

Hamburg is a self-governing Hanseatic city-state with powers and capabilities no British city could match.

The whole issue of "elected mayors" becomes risible in this context and the powers reserved to Central Government show why Whitehall should have dealt with this matter a) by providing storm drains and a contingency plan b) by having coordination teams and funding in place with emergency loans to Hull Council.

The Opposition should be working with the Council to show up the perils of voting Labour if you want to avoid being taken for granted. The aim should be to topple Alan Johnson and destroy Labour in Prescott's take out Labour seats even where Conservatives might not win them.

Anonymous said...

cctv said:

Whitehall should have dealt with this matter a) by providing storm drains and a contingency plan

cctv, Kuala Lumpur's new drainage tunnel cost about £3 billion.

Yet it doesn't function properly because KL could not afford to upgrade the drainage pipes connecting it to communities.

How much would adequate drainage cost Kuala Lumpur? £100 billion?

How many UK towns and cities need new drainage systems to contend with development related flooding?

300? 1000?

An awful lot more will need it soon as a result of this government's mass migration and over-development policies.

UK's annual GDP is £1000 billion.

Do the maths.

And the moral? We cannot mass migrate ourselves to social, environmental and economic health. Overcrowding and overpopulation causes far more problems than it can ever solve.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

"we are unlikely to keep pace with the increasing pressure to build, which will create floods, so we are chasing a target that is moving away from us faster than we are moving towards it"

Malcolm Bruce (Gordon) House Of Commons 16 Jul 2002

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

And the moral? We cannot mass migrate ourselves to social, environmental and economic health. Overcrowding and overpopulation causes far more problems than it can ever solve.

Auntie Flo'

July 08, 2007 9:39 AM

I knew Global Warming was a myth when none of its advocates favoured immigration control and controls on property development to preserve green space and drainage.

Since each new household increases concrete requirements and energy in house-building, more energy in appliances, and yet more in motor vehicles it seemed ludicrous in a country with heavy urbanisation and loss of historic forestry, to contemplate ever more house-building

Projections of households for England published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) on 14 March 2006 estimate that 4.8 million new households will form between 2003 and 2026, an annual growth of 209,000..........Over the period 2000-2004 an average of 80,000 British citizens have emigrated each year

In effect people are buying "disposable houses" which will have no resale value and are going to look rather like Cajuns living on the Wetlands

Whitehall should have dealt with this matter a) by providing storm drains and a contingency plan


Anonymous said...

16th July 2002 John Gummer in House Of Commons:

"the cost of the damage done by the 1953 floods was the equivalent of 10 per cent of GDP..."

"Although those floods were serious, they were unexpected; this is an opportune moment for the debate because such incidents are becoming more regular, more likely and less unusual."

"There is now a great deal more [agricultural] drainage, so that when water rolls off the fields onto the roads it causes a huge build up of water in the drainage pipes.

That causes floods in places that never had floods before"

In the heady days of 2002, Gummer wasn't yet talking about the effect of importing an unprecented volume of water, millions more gallons to serve each huge, rapidly built, say, £5,000 or 10,000 person estate.

Gummer probably wasn't aware then that the government would soon press for a 'solution' - SUDS - which would roll substantially more water off our fields to flood our drainage pipes and communties.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

I went to Hull once. Place was full of fish and prostitutes.

I expect they're all dead now.

Anonymous said...

What' are SUDs - or Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems?

Bl**dy disasters if the one near me is anything to go by:

A woman and her dog walk across a country path into the woods, the dog paddles in a tiny, 8' diameter, 6" balancing pond beside the path. Lovely idyllic country scene, so I filmed it.

Then - WHOOSH - a few moments later that tiny pond swelled with a huge torrent of water from an unseen outlet pipe up the hill - pumping out the the rainwater run off from a 10,000 person estate, I beleive - until it became the head of a river of water.

In just moments, The path was submerged to a depth of 3' and a great wall of water like a river in flood was forced across a grass channel beside the path and flooded into a series of reed beds.

Water floods (and I mean floods) from reed bed to reed bed before flooding through a series of streams and a swail and, finally, into a large balancing reservoir, on the hill above my house - which is always full.

That system is a SUD - Sustainable Urban Drainage System - the government's latest box of tricks to persuade us that it is dealing with the huge flood risk caused by its over-development.

Auntie Flo'

Roger Thornhill said...

There is one way we can continue to build on flood plains - do what other countries do and do not have your main home on the ground floor. Houses on stilts you say? Certainly, say I.

re:Observer, 5:51.

Reason states that houses on flood plains / at risk of flooding are less desirable and so have a lower cost, take longer to sell or require a higher level of decoration/fixtures to get a sale.

It is not I that needs to provide evidence, but for you to show where pricing goes counter to reason and further, prove that there are no other mitigating circumstances that affect the price.

Anonymous said...

Are SUDs - Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems - sustainable?

Ask the woman walking her dog across a country path suddenly submerged in 3' of polluted water.

Ask people like me who live in low lying flood plains below them.

The problem is where all of that SUD water is ultimately diverted to, since the reservoirs are always full, yet don't flood - or apparently don't flood.

SUDs are - allegedly - controlled floods. They're designed as holding systems for the flood water caused by substantially increased rainwater runoff resulting from development.

Our overloaded and crisis prone drainage systems can't cope with all of this water. The government's theory is that SUDS and their balancing reservoirs safely release water into the fields around them, thereby preventing flooding.

Yet no one seems to have considered the effects of the massive volume of water SUDs on large developments have to contend with or where all of that water will end up.

The water from the reservoir above my house is filtered into our water logged fields, underground aquifers and (consequently raised) water table.
From the fields it floods onto surrounding roads and into gullies and drains, blocking and overwhelming them with a huge volume of water and silt, and into our, once meandering, streams, turning them into raging torrents.

...and far too often for comfort, stormwater drains here go into reverse and pump water out. That water plus runoff from the fields runs into low lying streets, like my street, flooding entire roads, over pavements, up drives, into cellars, flooding front gardens. Though not inside my house - so far. Others here have not been so fortunate.

So, in reality, the Sustainable Urban Drainage System on the large new development above me - most unsustainably - simply shifts the flood elsewhere - and plonks it here, where I, and the established community, live.

Auntie Flo'

Roger Thornhill said...

Anon: 8:10pm What is wrong with Polly Toynbee ? She is an intelligent and erudite woman.

Judging by her missives, Polly has more of the Araldite about her than erudite.

Anonymous said...

Roger Thornhill said:

There is one way we can continue to build on flood plains - do what other countries do and do not have your main home on the ground floor. Houses on stilts you say? Certainly, say I.

What a silly solution. That would simply increase the volume of flooding.

Who is to pay the vast cost of knocking down millions of houses in and around flood plains and of rebuilding these houses on stilts?

It's not the new developments which are being flooded by the huge volumes of runoff development creates - the SUDs see to that - it's established communities around the development that are being flooded.

Meanwhile...the government continues to press for millions more houses in areas where development is so obviously unsustainable.

Does Brown not give a toss?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

There's only one affordable, socially, environmentally and economically viable strategy to prevent flooding - the one this island has had for thousands of years: countryside.

This island's countryside is a huge green sponge which absorbs a massive volume of rain and flood water and makes it safe and sustainable.

Comcrete over it and it no longer absorbs the floods.

Yet the government continues to over-develop this island - especially in the flood plained East and South East - at the peril of us all.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

but for you to show where pricing goes counter to reason

There is no reason in house prices it is pure irrational sentiment that drives prices and easy credit.

The notion of rationality in markets is a theoretical notion only because in non-reproducible product markets sentiment overwhelms rationality.

The level of house prices in England since 1971 has had more to do with deregulated credit than any level of fitting or any other we shall see if the Bank of England ever brings money supply under control

Anonymous said...

In response to Judith, you cannot build houses in Hull at the top or bottom of a hill. There are no hills in Hull.

What made the difference was the drainage. One of the areas flooded (Kingswood) was a very new (and popular) housing estate, which bears out the comments of one of the earlier posts.

Roger Thornhill said...

observer: There is no reason in house prices it is pure irrational sentiment that drives prices and easy credit.

Just think about what you have posted and even you will know you are defending the indefensible.

House prices in general can rise irrationally, but each house will tend to have a rational relative pricing to the others. Slump, crash or boom, my house will not be priced higher than those a few streets away, yet will be higher than all comparable houses in certain other streets.

Yak40 said...

Given SUDS and reed beds etc, how long until malaria returns to the east coast ?

Anonymous said...

Britain's biggest insurers are urging the Government to release information on the true state of the nation's flood defences, in a move that could lead to a withdrawal of insurance cover in parts of the country. Currently information on flood defences held by the Environment Agency cannot be fully accessed by insurers. Controversially, such data might allow the insurance companies to stop offering cover to new customers in parts of the country. (Sunday Telegraph)


Anonymous said...

House prices in general can rise irrationally, but each house will tend to have a rational relative pricing to the others. Slump, crash or boom, my house will not be priced higher than those a few streets away, yet will be higher than all comparable houses in certain other streets.

July 08, 2007 4:11 PM

It depends how unique your house is....that is why it is irrational. A house is a place to live, it should make no difference which street it is on...the fact you maintain it does is what is irrational

Anonymous said...

Anonymous July 08, 2007 2:51 PM said:

What made the difference was the drainage. One of the areas flooded (Kingswood) was a very new (and popular) housing estate, which bears out the comments of one of the earlier posts.

Did the storm drains and gullies in Kingswood go into reverse and pump out water as ours do in Harlow?

From the scale of the Hull floods, the cause is obviously more than blocked drains. I would guess that development in Hull has overloaded the drainage system.

Hull's drainage system was probably operating at full capacity prior to the heavy rainfall - a flood waiting to happen in other words.

Overloaded drainage systems operating are prone to blockages and flooding.

Flooding of fields, streams, roads and storm gullies by silt laden water filtering out of SUDs at new developments is obviously a major contributor to the problem too. The silt spreads through the drainage system, blocking and flooding storm gullies and drains elsewhere in the system.

In Harlow, it was claimed that the problem was due to the drains not having been cleaned or emptied for ages. However, after the LA cleared them out, the drains were ok for time then began pumping out water and flooding again. So the LA cleared them again. They were fine for a time, then they began pumping and flooding us again.

A section of storm gullies and pipes where I live has now been replaced - however I've begun to see the tell tale signs that they're silting up again.

Next winter will be the danger period here, I think.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

I wonderwhat the people in Lewes, Uckfield and Robertsbridge feel about the Brown attitude to Hull. My sympathy is with everyone flooded, but I don't remember Labour being half as agitated about East Sussex a few years back. I wonder why.