Alan Simpson, labour MP for Nottingham South, has written in The Guardian that we need to learn from European countries about flood defences, particularly the Netherlands with 60% of its land actually below sea-level. The Dutch approach incorporates flood water into the design of new homes, in the shape of floating homes and allocated safe flood zones for excess water. In Germany, planning laws have been tightened to maintain a site’s current water soakaway capacity even if built on.
These are lessons we could usefully learn in the UK where 4.3 million people currently live in high flood risk areas and one third of the land we are currently planning to build new homes on is flood-plain.
Measures to protect our homes and towns from both excess water and the equally-expensive consequences of drought seem common sense and yet there doesn’t seem to be the political will to really take the problems seriously. Let’s hope that before long we see the benefits of the European approach.