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« The extraordinary climate effect of land-use change | Main | Superforecasting »

Library manoeuvres

The opposition have called a debate on the Cumbria floods tomorrow, and so the House of Commons Library has issued a briefing paper to MPs. There's lot to amuse. For example, I read with interest that:

...there is a general understanding that climate change is likely to be linked to increased winter rain in the UK.

I think it's fair to say that this is complete drivel. As Richard Betts has quite rightly noted, predictions of UK climate are incredibly difficult because of our geographical position. Most commentators also agree that GCMs are useless when it comes to rainfall. So predictions about UK rainfall are almost impossible to take seriously. The "increased winter rain" story is of course derived from the UKCP09 climate projections, which are so wrong they put even Lord Deben in the shade. The idea that there is a "general understanding" of anything based on this farce of a computer simulation is preposterous.

There follows a mealy mouthed section insinuating that the storm that hit Cumbria was something to do with human activity, including a lengthy excerpt from a blog post from activist outfit Climate Central. Interestingly, the "Further Reading" section also includes, among other things, a suggestion that MPs might like to take a look at a paper entitled "Floods, Climate Change and Flood Defence Investment", published by Friends of the Earth.

Which is odd, because the first-named author of the briefing - one Sara Priestley - turns out to have worked at Friends of the Earth before moving to the House of Commons.

What makes me think that MPs' briefings have something of a bias?

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Reader Comments (101)

I have yet to hear how the latest flooding compares to the 1898 record in Kendal marked here. Does anyone here know, or are the warmists keeping quiet about it..?

Dec 14, 2015 at 10:42 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Mike Fowle and others, River Dredging.

It was clearly established with flooding of the Somerset levels 2 years ago, that under Laws enshrined in Green Blob propaganda, the rights of Lesser Crested, Three Toed Newt Warblers, are more important than the livelihoods of human residents.

It has also been clearly establised that not dredging water courses is a lot cheaper for relevant authorities, and when flooding happens they can blame it on global warming.

It has also been established that MP's get very upset when House of Commons foul drains leak through lack of maintenance, and see no problem with taxpayers having to pay to rehouse them.

Dec 14, 2015 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


I have researched the The Civil Servant's Code and the 2010 legislation which changed it from voluntary guidelines to a legally binding duty ("legally binding " having had some serious BBC mileage put on it at COP21...)

I've tried to get The Civil Service Commission to investigate fully documented fraud and wholesale, flagrant breaches of "The Code" - and their response was "it is for internal use only in disciplinary matters" and "only an actual civil servant can make a complaint.".. If one reads the legislation and "the code" - this is not prescribed anywhere..... at all Bureaucratic obstruction on a stick.

If say Peter Lilley or another independent minded "public employee" (the scope of those covered IS that broad) were to make a complaint - it would have to be addressed. Failing that - some fun might be had presenting the evidence at a magistrate's court and getting them to answer a summons.....

Dec 14, 2015 at 11:21 PM | Registered Commentertomo


The Somerset Levels and the spate rivers of Cumbria are as comparable as apples and pears.

The floods on the Levels were a result of the EA and local authorities willfully failing to clear silt that was blocking the watercourses that lead to the floods.

In Cumbria, the floods were due to local authorities and local landowners willfully failing to remove and clear cut or fallen trees and brash and preventing them from blocking the watercourses. and the EA for willfully failing to take action to enforce such clearances.

Dec 14, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Sanity may prevail in that the Government will be reluctant (very reluctant) to make futher funds available for flood defences. Their findings may fall on the side of opinion that claims such floods can only be seen to be natural and ocassional events - NOT related to climate change (which they would be loathed to admit is a falsehood).

When it comes to real spending money they'll fold.

Dec 14, 2015 at 11:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave_G

jamesp, the flooding in 1898 is not available on home video footage on YouTube. Therefore in accordance with BBC reporting standards for unprecedented weather events, it did not happen. End of. Full Stop.

The 1976 drought? Never happened

Oct 1987 Storm? Never forecast. Never happened.

It is of note that there is no dramatic You Tube footage, of nothing happening during the Unprecedented Hiatus. Therefore it does not exist.

Dec 14, 2015 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


"Oct 1987 Storm? Never forecast."

Not by Michael Fish, perhaps, but the 'woman who phoned in' forecast it all right! Mind you, I can see why the BBC don't mention it much...

Dec 14, 2015 at 11:46 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


Hope you get a result, good luck.

Regarding the Cumbrian "flood defences", what certifiable idiot decided that glass panels are a suitable flood defence? The fool that came up with that idea and the morons who signed it off should be facing criminal charges.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:01 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, thank for explaining the difference between willful apples and willful pears. Somerset is well known for cider, I did not know about Lake District Perry.

I await the first time that Global Warming is used as a Legal Defence in a murder trial, as a reason why Person A killed Person B. The BBC has already accepted Global Warming as a legitimate reason for thousands to flee Syria, with consequential loss of life.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:17 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

jamesp, the 87 gale was forecast by the French, which is what led to the phone call referred to by Michael Fish, who on 15th October was the TV weatherman. The duty forecaster that night was Ian McCaskill. He admitted it as an after dinner speaker in the early 90s. I heard him say it.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:26 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

After the historical success of the COP21, there is only one course of action left to climate heathens and that is to humbly submit their unconditional surrender to the overwhelming evidence.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

GC, as a Marcher, Cider only comes from Herefordshire, Salop, and Powys, made from proper cider apples. The 'cyder' you get down in Somerset is just fermented apple juice.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:02 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian


Who are your "climate heathens"? The alarmists or the sceptics? Please tell us who they are and why they should "humbly submit their unconditional surrender to the overwhelming evidence".

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:35 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

{snip O/T]

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork


Holding a bureaucracy's feet to the fire has its moments - the resistance to accountability is something that anybody tempted to go after the parliamentary researchers mentioned here should anticipate.

If anybody's minded/inclined to turn the legal tables on FoE interloping activists - a complaint citing the mischievous advice given to MPs vs. the actual historical facts would be a transparently obvious breach of the clear duty to objectivity.

Paging Robin Guenier !

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

But there has been NO climate change for the past 18 years and 9 months, ie., for the length of the 'pause'

I hope that someone points this rather inconvenient fact out to this guys.

Climate change has always been used as an excuse to cover up bad management. It was the standard excuse rolled out when there were hosepipe bans. The truth being that no new reservoir has been built in the South east these past 20 or so years notwithstanding the vast rise in population and hence the demands for water.

now it is used to excuse the floods when the truth is poor town planning in building on flood plains, and poor river management in not dredging etc.

It is about time that people face up to the facts, and not use so called climate change as am excuse which varies as the wind blows.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Salopian, would that be zoider from Zummerset?

Aila, what are your plans for internet use without mains electricity? Grow some organic bat trees?

richard verney, all Governments now have an excuse to make anything more expensive, due to global warming. To my knowledge, no electorate has ever been asked about any of it.

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:08 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Never want to go there but the lake district strikes me as a artificial holodeck.
You will never get a Knoydart or Wester Ross settling in for a February winter evening of bothy crack.
Those sort of things just do not happen.
Now there was the time when I was the diplomat between Saxon boaters and Glaswegian hill walkers of the rough variety .
With a Edinburgh twee couple and their children observing the dynamic from afar
(Valuable educational experience )

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

@ Dork, 2:10; please F OFF: your idiotic comments have gone totally beyond being anything that could be remotely construed as being either constructive, intelligent, informative or argumentative.

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:44 AM | Registered CommenterSalopian

[Snip O/T]

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Please don't drag peoples names into the mud, when they are not here to defend themselves. Many government people do read this blog. We should not be throwing around accusations against individual government workers based only on supposition.
Politicians are one thing but workers are entitled to a degree of respect.
#1 Of course government workers can have worked for FoE previously. They could have worked anywhere : and that includes policy think tanks, industry and even lobbying firms etc.
#2 Errors are human : They should be fixed ASAP and learned from.

@Bish had made a good case that the briefing has flawed and biased.
He has noted the coincidence that \\ the "Further Reading" section also includes// a FoE document
and then a further coincidence that \\ the first-named author of the briefing// worked for 2 months for Friends of the Earth.
I don't know who directed the tone of the briefing, maybe some un-named boss was directing. And I do note that perhaps the names could just be in alphabetical order.

If there are 20 refs in the further reading list, would it have been appropriate for her to put a asterisk and "I worked here for 2 months"? No I think not.

Dec 15, 2015 at 2:59 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The Alan Johnston's Fallacy : MPs relying on the HoC library spoonfeeding them "truth".
A larger matter is the process of the way MP's get Climate and Energy fundamentally flawed ?
Are they really just going to the HoC library and treated it's word as gospel ? That what it seemed like with Alan Johnston on The Politics Show Election special Direct link to him on video (mentioned here by Dec 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM Barbara, Dec 14, 2015 at 6:52 PM Addolff)

"I am not qualified"
"I went to the HoC Library this afternoon and asked them"
"97% of climate scientists say that climate change is real (finger point),
that it's happening
..and that it's man made"
Piers Corbyn : "that's a false statistic "
.. "Well you will have to argue with the HoC library about that
..and it's PEER REVIEWED !..what about your work ?"

..Nice AJ pulls the peer review fallacy (that peer review= true) and diverts the conversation.
Secondly he's got someone in front of him who can explain the flaw of shouting "97%", but he won't listen to him and tells him to go off and tell the HoC library.

MPs should not be relying on the HoC library spoonfeeding them "truth".
It is very dangerous situation if MPs are marching inthe debate with only library 'debate packs' in their hands, cos as @Bish points out whoever controls the 'debate packs' controls the debate.

I'd always assumed that each party prepared their own briefing packs and that MP's teams had red-lined them with info they got from elsewhere.

Dec 15, 2015 at 3:32 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Aila, the COP21 report in not "overwhelming evidence" it is mob rule.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I'm going to differ from most, and argue that this is not such a terrible thing.

You have to think a bit further out. If you totally defeat an enemy, what will happen next? In the present case, should climate vanish as a topic of concern, it will probably be replaced by something more damaging. Yes, its true, climate mania is incredibly expensive. But less expensive than a war, for instance. And one can probably think of other manias at least as destructive as climate mania/

The correct approach to these matters is to try to act so as to keep climate mania alive but limited. Also to try to make sure that there are other competing movements for it to fight with, preferably at the same point in the political spectrum.

We can see this playing out in world politics. The danger of the fall of the Soviet Union was that it could be replaced by old fashioned Russian imperialism. It would have been much more in the interests of the West to prop it up and keep it going in its enfeebled state. The fall of the Berlin Wall was actually very unfortunate.

Similarly, having destroyed the Iraqui army in a fit of idiocy, the US is now having to rebuild it from scratch at vast expense. This was due to a failure to realise that what the West needed was a halfway decent Iraqui army. Not one strong enough to invade Kuwait again, but one strong enough to defend its borders.

The West needs to think more intelligently and consequently about how it deals with enemies, and the sceptics need to think more carefully about how they deal with warmism. You don't want it to go away totally.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:35 AM | Unregistered Commentermichel

Isn't it obvious? Is there an option? Your question makes me think you are just a plant, Salopian.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterAila

The first I heard about the HoC library was in the debate between Clegg and Farage on Europe. Farage claimed the majority of our new laws come from the EU and Clegg said the HoC library claimed it was only 7%. The numbers were reviewed on the BBC's "more or less" prog and they came up with around 15%.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

"What will they do next? Will they start to burn witches?"

No they will start to burn muslims. It is quite obvious that global warming and extreme weather events have grown in tandem with the increasing muslim population of our country so it is obvious the muslims are responsible and must be punished.

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Clearly the 97% propaganda stunt was successful only with folk who wanted to believe it already. It relieves them of the burden of having to argue something they don't understand. However it hasn't worked with the public at all. We need cheap fuel because our current cost of living is too high already and that's the killer argument.

If has decided they no longer want electricity from coal and gas then they will surely get their wish but when blackouts or huge price hikes inevitably appear because of this base stupidity then the government will have to face the fury of the fickle public and quoting HoC library inanity won't help them.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

..Nice AJ pulls the peer review fallacy (that peer review= true) and diverts the conversation.
Secondly he's got someone in front of him who can explain the flaw of shouting "97%", but he won't listen to him and tells him to go off and tell the HoC library.
MPs should not be relying on the HoC library spoonfeeding them "truth".
Hard to know where to start with this one, stewgreen.
First off, why would Johnson not "pull[s] the peer review fallacy"? It's all right for those of us who apparently have nothing else to do with our day but sit on our arses and pontificate on a subject that some of us have taken a bit of trouble to research. Working MPs do not have that luxury.
Secondly, the "97%" has been "replicated" three times after the initial Anderegg paper. How long is it going to be before we understand that trying to debunk that figure takes considerably longer than the average human being's attention span? I'm not sure I understand exactly what it was that Cook did wrong — at least certainly not well enough to explain it to "Rutherford's barmaid".
And why would Johnson not assume that the information from the HoC Library is accurate. If MPs cannot rely on the accuracy of their central research facility then what the hell can they rely on?
Do you (and others) really understand the inevitable brick wall you are up against here?
As for today's debate, I see about half-a-dozen people prepared to do something to offset that ignorance as I suggested last night and as Harry Passfield, Mike Post and Ivor Ward appear to have done, but what about the rest?
Or is easier to rationalise inactivity by saying there's no point? Remember all that is necssary for evil to triumph. Same applies here.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@JamesG "BBC More or Less" are just explaining why a "1 in a 100 year flood", comes much more than 1 in 100 years..Low data, unjustified assumptions etc...then dates bunch up sometimes
There is a 65% chance of a 1 in 150 year flood happening somewhere in the UK each year ..Say the E Agency

"Air in Beijing is like smoking 40 cigarettes a day" is a Lord Stern quote
...His source is a Berkeley Earth press release so is not peer reviewed. Their source is a Chinese report saying Bejing air reduces life by 3 years.
But now Spiegelhalter points out the 40 cigarettes a day, takes about 15-20 years off life. So Beijing air is only like a few cigarettes/day.

Dec 15, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


I think you are being overly generous to the researchers concerned.

Isn't it reasonable to expect that anybody tasked with a specialist briefing has some better than passing knowledge of the topic - otherwise what's the point? As has been demonstrated by the various resources posted in this thread it is clear that the individuals concerned are either monumentally incompetent and ignorant or there is some deliberate intention to mislead.

So.... it's either wholly inadequate or deliberately mischievous.

Not much of a choice is it?

Dec 15, 2015 at 10:51 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Regarding Somerset floods: another contributing factor was the failure of EA to pump floodwater from the flood basin to the high-level carriers. No amount of dredging affects that aspect. Many farmers took money for being part of the flood reserve planning. With marine clays below and not enough evaporation above, floodwater stays put until it is pumped out. But EA disposed of the pumps so that the Green Blob could use the Levels and Moors as a bird-watching venue.

Dec 15, 2015 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterVictoria Sponge

@Mike Jackson I hear some frustration in your voice. There are two issues here the event tmw and the general cases of relying on the library. It is just unfortunate that it only came up just now. One way to tackle things quickly is to take to Twitter @commonslibrary

Bish has tweeted a couple of times

Also see Paul Homewood's point

re : My General points : I stand by them and already explained adequately above, so re-read them if you need.
I can however explain your additional points ..and I may do that later.

Me, I'd rather be RIGHT, than RUSH..hence pontificating. My preferred technique is to gather the info, deconstruct it all and try to understand it, think it over, debate it before calling for action

BTW Apparently one of the @commonslibrary staff is ex of BBC More or Less

Dec 15, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Tomo ..Yep the briefing is flawed... Do we know who/why ? No ..So accusing could be defamation.

Sources can get hijacked, which is why you don't (as @MJ seems to allude to) divide the world into "good sources" and "bad sources" but rather you take your info from numerous sources and treat them all skeptically.
Likewise you don't divide into peer reveiwed vs non-peer-reveiwed and treat peer review as proof. rather you may decide to read the peer reviewed ones first.

@MJ worries about urgency, but Anyway parliamentary lurkers do read this some info should be thru already.

Dec 15, 2015 at 11:46 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Anyone writing to their MP should also ask who is in charge of the House of Commons library and to whom that person is answerable.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndais

I think the Dork is just channelling James Joyce. Not that that makes it any more comprehensible.

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:26 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp


hmmm... poisoned wells feeding the fountain of knowledge?

Incompetence is usually the best bet - in this case it's rather convenient though that the briefing is shallow and biased in a manner that's all to familiar to regulars here...

Maybe the historical record has been obfuscated - but alluvial deposit sections are a very standard resource / technique for assessing flow episodes (particularly "traumatic" ones) and would sensibly be a part of due diligence - which is AWOL in this matter.

It's my experience (particularly with the EA) that "benefit of doubt" is wholly misplaced and all too regularly abused when seeking positional advantage. Pre-judging them maybe - but with some considerable weighting factors and history applied....

Dec 15, 2015 at 12:53 PM | Registered Commentertomo

FWIW: I was so annoyed to read about this briefing note having been authored by an ex-FOE that I decided it was time to break my duck on putting in an FOI. This is what I have asked for. Some on here might advise/critique what the likely outcome will be.

Dear Sir/Madam,
I wish to ascertain the credentials of the advisors and professional support staff working in the Dept of Energy and Climate Change. This request is prompted by the discovery that one of the authors of a briefing paper for MPs was written by a member of DECC’s team who had previously worked for FOE (Friends of the Earth).

Specifically, I wish to know how many staff, special advisors, advisors, professional support staff in DECC have previously worked for or been affiliated to FOE or Greenpeace or any other such environmental lobby group. I do not wish to know their names, just the numbers and a brief analysis of when and for how long they were involved in these organisations.
Yours etc....

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

I will tell you want is comprehensible or at least should be .

The destruction of a much older land use by the Cistercian and later Tudor ranch sheep economies.
Previously western farming orbiting animals such as these .
Small hardy cattle.

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Conor McCabe on the industrial cattle industry in Ireland.

Cattle breeds not adapted to local conditions......

Dec 15, 2015 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

e-mailed my MP & got this reply.
Dear Mr Gallon,

Thank you for your email. Stephen has asked me to let you know that he is grateful for your pointing this out, although he would like to assure you that he relies on a number of sources in addition to the Library briefings when preparing for debates.

Would you like him to raise this directly with the Library?

Best wishes,


Emma Salisbury
Senior Parliamentary Assistant
Office of Stephen Phillips QC MP

Not sure if he got the point, but shows he does take notice of constituents, unilke the previous encumbant of moat & duck house fame.

Dec 15, 2015 at 3:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

'The idea that there is a "general understanding" of anything based on this farce of a computer simulation is preposterous.'

The climate scare would surely have died years ago without deliberate and persistent use of preposterousness.
One of the more odious examples being the '97% of scientists believe...[etc]' based on an apparently innocuous two-question survey of about 80 climate scientists.

Most MPs seem totally oblivious to things like that, happy to be spoon-fed by the BBC and Greenpeace lobbyists etc.

Dec 15, 2015 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered Commenteroldbrew

Bang on, Aila! But will the numpties realise that they have been beaten? I sincerely doubt it – they have far too much of other people’s money invested in their personal future to accept that, hence their much-vaunted lauding about what you so sarcastically labelled “the historic success”!

Dec 15, 2015 at 8:36 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

The BBC highlights did not mention any of the issues we focused on yesterday more frequent droughts/floods etc.
Listen to direct audio segment
- Labour open list Con cutbacks (Kerry McCarthy)
- Unfazed Lizz Truss "we actually successfully defended many homes" - we have increased spending in real terms
- "but why are we spending same in 2015 as we did 2010 ?"
- 'No, we are soending more'
- SNP "there will be a bright and green future"...babbling on about sheep ..seemed to think problems are all over cos of COP21
- Some Millibloke babling on : COP21 empowers the minister to ne a green champion
- 8: 40 David TC Davies THE CLIMATE MAN .. (I meant to tell you to tweet him yesterday)

The reality is we have had very few debates about global warming and climate change, that climate change has been with us for thousands of years millions, ...I urge the minister to ask hard questions about those who here show a certain degree of hysteria about the issue
The vote about whether the gov had cut flood preparation too much was lost : 296Con 214 Lab

I didn't check what came up on Twitter

Dec 16, 2015 at 4:31 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Hey BBC have edited him down a lot . Here the full 7 mins
Yesterday David TC Davies full video speech

First interruption , "but sir 95%"
rebutted cos Davies has the facts to hands
Second interruption "...If he spreads this kind of NONSENSE, it gives an excuse for others not to take action"
"It gives comfort to those who want to do nothing about the GREATEST THREAT TO HUMANITY"

unfortunately the Youtube autotransscript is awful

Dec 16, 2015 at 4:40 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

More notes, but unfortunately the Youtube autotransscript is awful

..The house seems almost empty.
"Can I first begin by expressing my sympathy to all those affected by ..."
continues like a good skeptic.

First interruption (Welsh MP), "but sir 95% of Climate the ones we met at the Royal Society"
Easily rebutted cos Davies has the facts to hand on Zimmerman.

Second interruption by Tim Farron Lib "...If he spreads this kind of NONSENSE, it gives an excuse for others not to take action"
"It gives comfort to those who want to do nothing about the GREATEST THREAT TO HUMANITY"
Again well rebutted ..' I can't go back to my constituents with policies that will put up their energy prices, and lose jobs unless I have answers to their questions'
..Why has there been no warming since 1997 ? why is there no correlation ? only 5% of CO2 is manmade..."

hissing ? then end of video as he gives way

His website riles against the Climate Act

Dec 16, 2015 at 5:05 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Belatedly, but edited.

Dear. Mr..............

The opposition called a debate on the Cumbria floods yesterday 15th December. My understanding is that the HoC Library issued a briefing paper (file:///C:/Users/Philip/Downloads/CDP-2015-0128.pdf) & the lead author was named as Sara Priestly. She wrote in the paper that:

“...there is a general understanding that climate change is likely to be linked to increased winter rain in the UK.”

She also linked to an unsubstantiated paper published by Friends of the Earth that is not peer-reviewed.

The quotation directly contradicted the SPM issued by the UNIPC & also information from Dr Richard Betts at the UK Met Office.

Sara Priestly once worked for Friends of the Earth, which means she is unlikely to be unprejudiced. This is of concern as MPs are being misled. Library staff are there to provided facts, not fiction. They are not elected representatives & are duty bound to provide even handed information to MPs, who are elected.

For example:

"The devastating flooding which has hit much of north west England in the wake of Storm Desmond might be more common for Britain than currently believed, a Welsh scientist is warning". That is in direct opposition to the views of Professor Mark New of the University of Oxford.

More severe and widespread UK droughts projected
UK droughts are projected to be more severe and affect larger areas of the country in the coming century. The findings, published in Water Resources Management, could ...
Professor Mark Macklin, an expert in river flooding and climate change impacts at Aberystwyth University , says analysis shows 21st century floods are not unprecedented in terms of either their frequency or magnitude.

Working with other experts from the universities of Cambridge and Glasgow, he has drawn on historic records to build a clearer picture of the flooding.

They conclude that 21st century flood events such as Storm Desmond are not exceptional or unprecedented in terms of their frequency or magnitude and that flood frequency and flood risk forecasts would be improved by including data from flood deposits dating back hundreds of years, not just a few decades.........

....... Professor John Lewin, also from the University of Aberystwyth, said: “What is needed is far more resilience for already-developed floodplains , and much more serious insistence that future floodplain development should be virtually curtailed.

“Somewhere along the line floodplain development has been allowed by local authorities and the UK government to continue regardless.” "

Cumbria Rivers have flooded yet again and the Environment Agency cites all kinds of reasons for this. However, it neglects to mention that its policy is dictated by the EU Water Framework Directive, adopted in 2000, which places constraints on the dredging of rivers.

Putting in flood defences does not infringe the policy, as long as the river is not dredged or embanked. Hence, for example, the erection of expensive and ineffective glass panels on the wall next to the Greta river in Keswick. Here there has been absolutely no dredging of the gravel that has raised the river bed considerably over the last decade. All in all, isn't it better to put money where it delivers the best return?

I hope that you will have a future opportunity to use this information to inculcate knowledge rather than water melon propaganda in the minds of the Corbynites. Suggest they support Piers rather than Jezaz. If Piers were wrong, he'd be out of business. Clearly, he isn't!

Yours truly,

Dec 16, 2015 at 11:33 AM | Registered Commenterperry

There are too many sheep. not just on the Cumbrian Fells and lake District but everywhere in Cumbria.

They are destroying the land by grazing so close to the ground that no organic material gets buried in the soil.
What you saw in The Flood was basically a Flash Flood, typical of desert regions and what typifies/defines a desert if not 'low levels soil organic material' The sheep are turning the place, everywhere in fact, to desert.
Also, entirely ban the use of nitrogen fertiliser.

Planting trees is quite unnecessary, just let the grass grow. Wild and tussocky. let some heather get established. That will absorb and slow down the rate rainfall runs off the land and allow some dead plant material to be buried in the topsoil and rejuvenate it. This will absorb and slow down rainfall release even more.
That road (Warwick Road) in Carlisle has been there a long time, it is NOT a new development planted on a flood plain. It would not be there if it was prone to 3 major floods every 10 years, as it has suffered.

It is the land that has changed, how it handles rainfall, not the weather or climate and it is driven by everyone's expectation that they should have 'cheap food'
OK, you get cheap food but pay for it another way - flood reparations are just one way.

Dec 16, 2015 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeta in Cumbria

I have left info about my FOI in a comment on Unthreaded.

Dec 16, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Registered CommenterHarry Passfield

Harry Passfield, thank you for your template letter further up thread which I had used to send to my MP Sir Alan Duncan. For some reason my comment about that at the time (late 15 December) didn't get through here. Probably my fault as I was trying to achieve that via my rather old and slow tablet late in the evening. Your FOI request looks interesting - I hope you will be good enough to let us know the outcome.

Dec 16, 2015 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohnbuk

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