A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Down-to-earth causes of flooding.....

I have recently written and spoken widely about flooding in the lovely East Sussex town of Lewes. I have now just read a superb scientific paper on the topic which supports entirely the position I have been taking. I recommend this article to everyone who is fed up with the glib explanations of the 'global warming' fanatics and politicians.

The paper is by Dr. John Boardman, a world authority on flooding and erosion, at the Environmental Change Institute (ECI) of the University of Oxford: 'Soil erosion and flooding on the eastern South Downs, southern England, 1976 - 2001.' The Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, N.S. 28, 2003, pp. 176 - 196. Dr. Boardman's research shows clearly that flooding has been a regular event since the downlands were converted to the growing of winter cereals in the 1970s. This practice, unfortunately, leaves the soil exposed during the wet autumn period, which, in turn, leads to run off, to ephemeral gullying, and to rilling. The average rate of erosion is between 0.5 - 5.0 m3 ha-1 yr-1, but storm losses raise this to 200 m3 ha-1 yr-1. Sadly, both soil conservation and flood protection measures have been neglected. Dr. Boardman comments that: "There has been a lack of central government leadership, particularly from MAFF/DEFRA [now there's a surprise!], and local councils have tended to act independently in an uncoordinated manner in reaction to events in their area of responsibility" (p. 193). He concludes that: "The continued cultivation of winter cereals on the South Downs is clearly unsustainable in terms of thinning soils and declining yields, the need for increased inputs of fertilizers and the repeated flooding of properties."

Meanwhile, 'global warming' remains a gloriously pie-in-the-sky excuse for inaction and for the failure to implement down-to-earth solutions that address genuine issues. Saving the world is waffle; preventing erosion and flooding around Lewes is not. And isn't it good to see real field-work research at ground level. Well done, Dr. Boardman. Says it all really.

Philip. Needing tea to bolster his eroding spirit.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

WWW EnviroSpin Watch

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?