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« Euan Mearns on the Met Office report | Main | Doctor Mann, I presume? »
Sunday
Feb232014

Booker on the Somerset floods

Being a resident of Somerset, Christopher Booker is in a good position to get into the nitty gritty of the truth behind the floods this year.

This morning he has set out the full case that there was a cold-blooded government decision to allow the Levels to return to nature, with residents left to fend for themselves. The Levels were of course a creation of the state, having been drained and enclosed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries at goverment command, and the residents therefore relied upon the state to maintain their waterways and the security of their homes. Now, on a green-tinged whim, the state has tossed them aside in favour of a few wading birds, lives and livelihoods wrecked in the process.

As someone once said, the state is not your friend.

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Reader Comments (64)

Can anyone think of a valid reason why the politicians responsible for the decisions that lead to the flooding should not be prosecuted in a court of law?

Feb 23, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Well "Only following orders" wouldn't have got them off Nuremberg.

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

One of the big problems with policy decisions is that the public seem to have lost all forms of representation. Every little concern gets to have their say but the wider public are without a voice. You can imagine the meeting with members of the RSPB and a raft of other environmental charities, where they enthusiastically decided that it would be great to return the land back to nature. Nobody asked the question 'will the public like the result?'

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Nuremberg was a question of criminal law.

What the people of Somerset have suffered is the result of negligence in performance of a statutory duty by an autonomous government agency. The ministers involved may be joined in a suit for damages and punitive damages.

The point about a civil suit is that it is not necessary to prove intent, nor is it a defense to say that the agency was following orders because the statute under which the agency operates sets out its statutory duty. Any minister who issues orders contrary to the statute is acting ultra vires.

Do a search on Google entering "failure to perform a statutory duty, Francis Bennion"

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterFred Colbourne

Anyone wishing to comment on the Met Office's contribution to the flooding can do so on their own patch

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:41 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This policy was set in train by a *Labour* government - that's the political dynamite. And Booker's mention of human rights is poking the dispute with a sharp stick :)

Don't miss his smaller piece where he castigates the BBC for lack of balance. Or Clive James's weekly TV review in yesterday's Telegraph, where he entertainingly damns Jon Snow for ignorance in an edition of Channel 4 News while praising other coverage of the floods in the same programme.

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Page

Insurance companies have deeper pockets then most. Perhaps there are grounds here for them to seek recompense from the EA for a proportion of the payouts they'll be making to policy holders. Would such a court case provide greater assurance of getting into the open the nitty-gritty of whatever decision processes have been going on that have contributed to the current situation than, say, a government-orchestrated public inquiry?

Feb 23, 2014 at 10:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterDaveS

UK storms and floods - a post-mortem
The main human impact on recent flooding is UK government incompetence.

So Foul a Day and the Jet Stream
Alastair Dawson's book chronicles 300 years of climate hell in Scotland (1600 - 1900) most probably extending to the whole of the UK, that was followed by the quiescent 20th Century

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

I couldn't believe the EA officer who says he stopped the dredging was on local TV last week, and he stood by his decision! He talked mainly about the silt coming in from the channel, so presumably below Bridgwater, so whether that was his "get out" clause?
The problem with suing the EA is that the money comes from our pockets again. It needs serious reform and control, but by whom? As Tinyco2 says, there is no public representation. You may, if lucky get a "consultation" but that is after the decision has been reached and is only a tick box.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJo Beaumont

I think you will find that the Levels were drained before the 17th cent.. when Glastonbury became a Christian Center the levels were drained by the Monks who moved into the area. So over 1000years.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

John Page

If you look at the responses to Ian Salisbury's 2009 FOI request https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/dredging_the_river_thames_above , you will see that the "policy" of no dredging for flood mitigation purposes started in 1996 when the Environment Agency was handed the responsibility for maintaining our rivers. All three major parties are complicit in the neglect of our rivers.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterStoic

Tiny CO2: "...the public seem to have lost all forms of representation."

The manifestation at local level is simply part of the EU system, as is so constantly and forensically shown by Richard North, but the EU is just a stalking horse for the UN. There is a global network of Environment Agencies and in the case of our own EA, it is to the EU in the first instance and then the UN, that they owe their allegiance, not to the people of the UK. This is the same in every country, not least the USA, see http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/lisa_p_jackson_epa_administrator_fulfilling_the_un_mission.html

The European Network of EPA's can be seen here:
EPA Network http://www.eea.europa.eu/about-us/countries-and-eionet
"The network of the heads of Environmental Protection Agencies in Europe (EPA Network) is an informal grouping bringing together the heads of environment protection agencies and similar bodies across Europe. The network exchanges views and experiences on issues of common interest to organisations involved in the practical day-to-day implementation of environmental policy and communication of environmental issues."

Plenary meetings are held every 6 months in one of the member countries. The plenary sets the strategic direction of the network and provides a platform for heads to meet and discuss current topics of interest. The plenary also deals with organisational issues of the network.

The network arranges its work through various Interest Groups (IG). There are currently eight active Interest Groups:

Better Regulation
Carbon Capture and Storage
Climate Change and Adaptation
Sustainable use of Natural Resources
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
International Cooperation
Green Economy
Noise

International Co-operation http://www.eea.europa.eu/about-us/international-cooperation

Cooperation with international organisations:
At global level:
United Nations Environment Programme – UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme - Mediterranean Action Plan - UNEP/MAP

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – UNECE

World Health Organisation – WHO
United Nations Development Programme – UNDP
United Nations Statistical Division – UNSD
Food and Agriculture Organisation – FAO
World Meteorological Organisation – WMO
World Bank
Secretariats of Global Conventions: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

At regional level
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development – OECD
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe – OSCE
Arctic Council
Nordic Council
Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe – REC
Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia - CAREC
Asia-Europe Foundation – ASEF, i.e. the Asia-Europe Environment Forum (ENVforum)

There is an endless self-generation, like a vast fungal mycelium, with constantly emerging new bodies, which in turn spawn yet more of the same. To see more of the UN reach, check out "United (Socialist) Nations"

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/un_progress_governance_via_climate_change.html.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

John Page - the EA stopped dredging in 1995 when John Major was still Prime Minister. This is about the political classes, not what rosette they wear.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterLiT

John Page
Do you, by chance, have a link to Clive James' piece in yesterday's DT or is it one of those things that doesn't appear on their web site?

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

To follow what dennisa has written:

The EA were following the EU imposition of the UN Agenda 21 requirements. See http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

Chapter 15 CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, Section 15.5 g:

"Take action where necessary for the conservation of biological diversity through the in situ
conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats, as well as primitive cultivars and their wild
relatives, and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural
surroundings, and implement ex situ measures, preferably in the source country. In situ measures
should include the reinforcement of terrestrial, marine and aquatic protected area systems and
embrace, inter alia, vulnerable freshwater and other wetlands and coastal ecosystems, such as
estuaries, coral reefs and mangroves; 6/"

All the NGOs and governments have the same underlying 'Common Purpose' fully supported by David Cameron who co-chairs this UN committee (which has some other interesting members).

The committee recently reported:
"A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP: ERADICATE POVERTY AND TRANSFORM ECONOMIES THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT; The Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda"

http://www.un.org/sg/management/pdf/HLP_P2015_Report.pdf

Note the Common Purpose keyword 'sustainable'

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan W

I see the same two pictures of the bridge on the river Parrett appear in Booker's article. I am slightly bothered by the modern/recent colour picture, as it is taken at a different angle to the older picture. The result is to enhance the apparent build-up of the near bank more than it probably is, making it difficult to make a rational judgement. It would help if someone local could take a better positioned shot. Any takers?

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterTim Churchill

I just read Booker's piece. If half of this is half true then heads must roll. I've been following comments about the abandonment of The Levels following withdrawal of the MOD etc but put that down to bungling incompetence. If it really has been planned as is well argued here then its quite shocking. Anyone know how many households / people are affected?

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

One of the big problems with policy decisions is that the public seem to have lost all forms of representation.

A very neat synopsis.

The faceless bureaucrat, he/she knows better - with the authoritarian power of a state apparatus in his/her control - enables him/her to steer the ship.
The faceless bureaucrat, is not at all influenced by democratic process, he disdains the electorate - who are helplessly powerless.
The faceless bureaucrat, needs no justification but craves the veneer of legitimacy, through coordination he seeks the prearranged cooperation of unelected, narrow minded, one eyed focus groups - hey presto;
"a Charity said......."
or, "greenpeace helped to............".
"in order to protect the natural environment..... the RSPB................"

The faceless bureaucrat, unconcerned by the ballot box and knows how to make governance tick, he glides easily between Westminster, Brussels, and beyond and all the time the faceless bureaucrat gets the message out - the people will obey and be flooded out, if needs be.

Feb 23, 2014 at 11:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

If the levels were drained by the local inhabitants then perhaps, they should reassume responsibility for it themselves and divest the EA whom have been proved to be incompetent.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterKoba

@ Tim, perspective is a valid point. If you look at the far bank it is quite clear that the level of silting in the lower picture below the circular conduit is much greater than in the upper picture. If you scrape away all that silt in your mind then you'll see that the water level is roughly the same in both pics - though comparing water levels is tough to do at any time. On my blog I have another version of this pic grabbed from WUWT that includes a picture during the floods. The bridge is effectively turned into a dam.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@euanmearns, yes I agree with you, but I was acting as devil's advocate. It would be good to see a better perspective as the near bank obscures the actual width of the river at the bridge. Have you a link for the picture you refer to on your blog?

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Churchill

Here's Nassim Nicholas Taleb getting in to the UK floods question, with UK Green party boffin Rupert Read and ... George Monbiot:

Tweet: @RupertRead @GeorgeMonbiot The floods in England come from a standard risk management failure (Antifragile). pic.twitter.com/6OyRGMev95

The picture he attaches is here and it goes to a small passage in his book, which, as can be seen, he's updating by adding the UK floods as an example of the Lucretius problem.

Taleb appears to be fully under the sway of Read. This will be very interesting to watch.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Registered Commentershub

We need to get control of our country back.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The only purpose of government is to protect the people and their property in situations where they cannot realistically be expected to protect themselves. The government has no right at all to stop people protecting themselves otherwise. The farmers have managed flood protection for centuries.

Although I am a nature lover, I do not think the government has any duty to protect wildlife, but have nothing against the work of honest charities living off voluntary donations. Country people know full well that it is in their interest to protect nature and have done so supremely well in this country for thousands of years. Nowhere in the British Isles is wild. The beautiful countryside is everywhere entirely man-made.

In a just world, ministers and other officials would be made personally responsible for this wilful damage in Somerset and be made to pay dearly for it out of their own pocket. Many of them would be ruined and so they should be. It is not good enough to sue the impersonal government, if indeed the government is not immune from prosecution in this case. I hope the suffering individuals and their insurance companies are able to swat these evil officials with the full force of the law.

Feb 23, 2014 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Well

@Tim Somerset bridge
Grabbed the image from WUWT, not sure if that is original source. Image on right shows problem of getting a picture today ;-) Looking at the buildings on the far bank, its kind of hard to make sense, especially with the older top left image. But at some point you gotta assume these things are done in good faith.

Feb 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

@Tim, you have brought on a minor panic attack ;-) The recent silted image (bottom left) and flooded image (right) are clearly the same bridge and the same buildings can be identified on the far bank. The old image (top left) dates from the 1960s. A pipe has been added to the bridge in the more recent images. It is not so easy to identify the same buildings on the far bank on the 1960s image. A lot can happen in 50 years? I'm away to have a look on Google Earth.

Feb 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

Mike Jackson

excuse any typing errors

Clive James

“The floodwaters of the South West got into the works of Channel Four News, which has recently been very good on the tough subjects. But on the subject of the heavy rain the programme suddenly took leave of its senses.
Basing himself outdoors in the inundated areas, the otherwise quite sane Jon Snow screamed “this country has never experienced anything like this before!” Since the very programme was he was supposed to be anchoring had only just got through showing footage of how this country experienced something exactly like this in 1953, with the loss of more than 300 lives, his hysteria made you wonder if he had actually been watching his own show.
Probably not; instead of watching he had been wading. It’s a danger easily courted when anchor persons get out in the field; without a studio wrapped around them, they can’t take an overview. Snow had got himself into a position where his lieutenant Krishnan Guru-Murthy was asking the guests better questions. Krishnan was likewise out there in the swirling waters but at some point he had managed to get some homework done, and had realised that any policies inspired by theory of climate change, while conceivably useful for avoiding a planetary crisis in the future, were useless for dealing with a local disaster in the present.
While Snow was raving on about how Britain was the only European country ever to face something like this – had he never heard of the Low Countries? – Krishnan was putting a succession of roped-in experts on the spot by asking how more actions to stave off climate change could possibly be relevant to helping the flood victims now.
It was the right question, and there was a whole queue of the wrong people to answer it, headed by the Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey, who managed to suggest by his manner that he had learned nothing since Andrew Neil worked him over on The Sunday Politics (BBC One) a few weeks back. When Krishnan asked the hapless Ed whether the Government would be spending more on flood defences, Ed said “I’d like to pay tribute to the people on the ground.” He means well, but what we need in his post right now is someone from the Netherlands.
Anyone who saw Jon Snow interviewing the frantically posturing Russell Brand – the subject of climate change was well to the fore – might have thought that our precious Western civilisation was indeed coming to an end. If our older generation of presenters show signs of going nuts under the pressure, where is the next generation to come from? The sneaking thought that there might not be a next generation was put to rest by an instalment of the usually unspeakable Generation Sex (BBC Three)……”

Feb 23, 2014 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Interesting two page article in the Observer by the Environment Editor about how the floods have been detrimental to wildlife.

Well that's good green environmental sustainable, resilient policy for you!

Feb 23, 2014 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

There is a chain of those responsible from the EU directives, the UK environment ministers, their compliant departments, wildlife groups, and the mass of unwitting MP's who want to be seen as eco-friendly champions. Alongside them we have their cheerleaders, the Geoffrey Leans and Monbiots, and the 'expert' advisory panels concocted by BBC to promote the green agenda.

The affected are the householders, farmers, and businesses, who want pursue their lives and activities under what should have been a protective governmental system. Instead, in those areas of the South and West, their interests have been overruled. This has led other areas of the country liable to government induced flooding to begin to examine that unwelcome propect. This is only the start of such awareness campaigns.
http://www.ukipsouthsuffolk.org/?p=334

There is also another aspect of this which is worth investigating. I have been trying to find accurate figures for the water reservoir capacity per head of population over the past forty years, and for the future. There does not appear to be much information. Perhaps this would show that successive governments have spent their efforts providing more water for wildlife than for humans.

Feb 23, 2014 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteven Whalley

Ian M: "The EA were following the EU imposition of the UN Agenda 21 requirements."

I look forward to the day when a responsible journalist on a main-stream news program asks a top man in the EA/politics: "Is this anything to do with UN Agenda 21?" To which, I am sure, the follow-up question will no doubt be: "Are you telling me that you've never heard of UN Agenda 21?"

Feb 23, 2014 at 2:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Put not your trust in princes.

Feb 23, 2014 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

Steven Whalley on Feb 23, 2014 at 2:34 PM

There is a very interesting post by Jeremy Shiers under the article you linked to in your post:
http://www.ukipsouthsuffolk.org/?p=334

"EA have plans for flooding all around the country but especially in Essex and Suffolk.

This policy has been and still is driven by John Gummer, who at MAFF created Enviroment Agency. Now as Lord Deben he is chair of Climate Change Committee and is till actively promoting flooding

http://jeremyshiers.com/blog/flooding-is-eu-and-uk-government-policy-feb-2014/

cont."

It continues, with a link to another interesting document containing a revealing map!

Feb 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Concerning the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), it has been applied more stringently in Scotland than in England:

In England, "The Directive has been transposed into English law by three Statutory Instruments.... As far as "flood" is concerned, it is only mentioned once in each of these sets of regulations, which simply impose a duty to "consult" those who, in the opinion of the relevant agency, "have an interest in the promotion of flood management". So far, no insurers have been consulted (so far as the author is aware)."

"The Scottish Parliament considered the Directive so important that, instead of statutory instruments, primary legislation to transpose the Directive was enacted in the form of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003.

"In respect of flood risk management, the Act (subsections (3) and (4)) requires "Scottish Ministers, SEPA and the responsible authorities to work in an integrated fashion and co-operate with each other to promote sustainable flood management". Subsequently, the insurance industry has been frequently consulted through FLAGs."

In an article published by the CII it has been suggested that the law in England and Wales is changed to make,
" 'experts' legally liable when they get it wrong and people are flooded. This might not be so hard as it sounds.
The law was only changed in the Ryeford Homes case in 1989 when developers and planners were given legal immunity thanks to the efforts of clever counsel (Ryeford Homes Ltd v Sevenoaks District Council [1989]). Before that, planners were liable (Hedley Byrne v Heller 1963)."

The Crighton Solution put forward a number of proposals to deal with the risk of flooding in England, including:

Remove the immunity against legal actions for negligent misrepresentation.

Revise building regulations for new build along the lines of the Scottish building standards to make properties more resilient and resistant to flood damage.

Enact legislation to make the new building regulations apply retrospectively after flood or storm damage so that the costs of resilient reinstatement are borne by insurers and existing stock is made flood and storm resilient.

Create statutory duties on local authorities to clean and maintain watercourses, gully pots, culverts, SuDS installations etc at least once a year (as in Scotland) and make them legally liable if they fail to do so adequately and a flood results (as in Scotland).

There is also a practical approach in Norway:

"The current standard for drainage in England is that it should provide drainage for up to a 30-year return period event. By contrast, in Norway the local authority and utility are held legally liable for any surface water flood less extreme than the 100-year return period event thanks to the proactive approach by Norwegian insurers who sued them and recovered their claims payments (Lindholm et al, 2007). Perhaps UK insurers or flood survivors should try this sometime?"
http://www.cii.co.uk/knowledge/claims/articles/flood-plain-speaking/16686

Feb 23, 2014 at 3:03 PM | Unregistered Commenter52

Re: Feb 23, 2014 at 11:11 AM | dennisa
Re: Feb 23, 2014 at 11:27 AM | Ian W

Thanks Guys, about time the insidious reach of the UN's Agenda 21 received more prominence!! I've only seen very brief mentions so far in articles by Richard North, Delingpole and Booker!

It's couched in the most reasonable and friendly terms (just like many EU directives) but the actual imposition and enforcement is very very different and is causing incredible hardship and suffering across the globe.

For those who aren't yet aware of Agenda 21 E.A.Smith (Chiefio) wrote a very interesting article on his own awakening to the dangers and how much it is interwoven with the whole CAGW meme.

http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/foia-agenda-21/

Feb 23, 2014 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

TonyCO2 said:

One of the big problems with policy decisions is that the public seem to have lost all forms of representation. Every little concern gets to have their say but the wider public are without a voice.

Our representatives are still there - elected politicians - but they have forgotten who they are supposed to work for. They have turned their job into one of managing groups of vested interests without much thought to the interest they are supposed to be representing.

Feb 23, 2014 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Sure you can trust the government. Just ask a Native American.

Feb 23, 2014 at 3:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

UN and EU directives are rubber stamped by our politicians without much debate or even understanding of the legislation. These bodies acquire their power by stealth because our politicians don't like to tell us that our laws are made elsewhere by unelected officials.

This has been happening for decades and most politicians today have no idea how a parliamentary democracy used to function. The will of the people is an old fashioned term. Today, the people don't know what is going on and couldn't influence it if they did.

Feb 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

@TimChurchill, Just look at the far bank to see the amount of dredging necessary to take the river back to the 1960s level.

Go to maps.google.co.uk and search for Burrow Bridge, Somerset TA7 and switch to streetview to see what the river looks like from the bridge itself.

Feb 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSadButMadLad

'Nuremberg was a question of criminal law. "

Could they just say that they were only obeying guidelines?

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Mike Jackson (11:18 AM): you might not find the article by Sid Clive James, but you will find an article by Tim Walker: “Chris Smith has designs on taking over as BBC chairman.” The thing that really makes my stomach churn is the sure-fire certainty that the cretin will get his wants, NOT his just desserts! Will this madness never end?!

I still pay tax, but am doing my damnedest to reduce any liability that I do have – and increasingly feel that lowering my income to close to poverty is becoming a desirable option. Perhaps the ONLY way to stop these odious folks sucking the taxpayer dry is to not have the money for them to suck out of us.

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

As regards the bridge photo, look at the hole on the far side: in the older photo, it is not obstructed, and well clear of the bank; in the newer, its bottom quarter or so is covered by the raised bank. The closer side looks similarly obstructed, but that could be perspective. Reason does dictate that both sides will be similar.

Pity. A few paces to the right, and the more recent photographer could have removed all doubts.

BTW, Koba, I would not be at all surprised if the locals have every intention of doing precisely that, taking control of their own homes and lands without awaiting any “permission” from government. If they do, all power to them! (My, how the empire shrinks...)

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Another point (sorry to be so explosively vociferous)! Did anyone see Caroline Flaunt Flint on the Andrew Demur (Ha! NOT!) Marr show this morning? She lied, lied and lied again, without a whisper of complaint from St [sic] Andrew. Oh, to get her in front of t’other Andrew, Mr Neill – he would have shredded her!

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

For Tim..
Parallax in Burrow Bridge
A geometric explanation of why the two photographs of Burrow Bridge look different.

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:35 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

It might be that the only way to get them to do the right thing is to remind them how many animals they have killed because clearly they don't give a toss about humans.

Feb 23, 2014 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Looks like a straightforward pest extermination operation. Would it not have been cheaper and easier to bring in Rentokil?

Feb 23, 2014 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commenterbetapug

The cause of the excessive Somerset flooding is primarily the failure to maintain and operate the sluices - the below sea (and river) level floodwaters must get to the sea at low tide. The responsible public body - in this case the EA - failed in this duty and abandoned the sluices; QED there is a case for a class action against them for gross negligence.

Feb 23, 2014 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernon E

RR
I saw the headline about Smith.
I did not read the article.
Time was when making it known that he wanted the job would have immediately disqualified him.

Feb 23, 2014 at 6:41 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Booker and North did a tremendous job researching their disclosure about the floods. It is a pity that it only merits filler news status in the "Guardian Lite" Telegraph. I would not expect the Guardian or Independent to mention it.

The BBC, being left wing, Europhile and obsessed about climate change, wouldn't mention this story even if it appeared engraved on tablets of stone falling from the sky at a rate of one per square metre.

I therefore hope that the good people of Somerset refuse to let this story disappear and make sure that it is raised time and time again. They should sue for compensation. They have a strong case.

Feb 23, 2014 at 6:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Vernon E - I agree, the tidal sluices are essential. But this account by SWK AKA The Ghost of Corporal Jones (at Tallbloke's) suggests the failure of the EA to continue pumping further upstream was also a key factor. Dredging likewise. The insurance industry should be asking serious questions of the EA's river management.

Feb 23, 2014 at 7:33 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

I am sure someone will already have posted it -

“Any government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."

Thomas Jefferson


Meanwhile Benny Peiser tells it like it is -

“I think that science in this case, unfortunately, is not the answer. The answer is engineering. The reason why we’ve had the floods is that the country is ill-prepared and ill-advised. In other countries like Holland they properly manage rivers and flood defences. All of this is basically lacking and the Met Office is partly responsible for the mess because they advised MPs just two years ago to expect colder and dryer winters. They got it wrong. Therefore you can’t link it to climate change because it cannot do both: have warmer and wetter winters and colder and dryer winters at the same time."

One paragraph sums up the total deceit of of the Met Office - everything that happens whether predicted or not is evidence of Global Warming. Rupert Darwall in his book "The Age of Global Warming" points out that Climate Scientists are like those who constructed all manner of ludicrous ideas to avoid the conclusion that the Earth orbits the Sun. The heat hides everywhere including my attic, to avoid the obvious conclusion that CO2 is not a major driver of the Earth's climate.

Of course Benny Peiser is wrong - Climate Science is so lacking in scientific rigour and honesty that it clings to any straw floating by. Common-sense and self regulation is totally missing.

Feb 23, 2014 at 7:54 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

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