FLOOD RISK: Attention should be on river surges

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The point Mr Harrison (Lincolnshire Free Press letters, February 25) doesn’t seem to grasp is that the Environment Agency (EA) flood risk maps for planning (January 2014) more or less show the entire area of South Holland and The Deepings as a flood zone level 3 – the same as the Somerset levels.

This is clearly incorrect and fails to take into account the first class drainage system which our excellent local Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) manage.

The problem which (MP) Mr Hayes has correctly highlighted is that these flood risk maps bear no semblance to the reality of flood risk across the wider area.

That is why Mr Hayes has been pressing the EA to update their maps so they take full account of the work of our IDBs and reflect the real risk of flooding across the majority of his constituency.

In this respect, I have absolute confidence that John Hayes will keep up his excellent work and maintain the pressure on the Environment Agency and the Government to ensure that our sea and river defences are up to the job and adequately financed.

Yes, the risk to sea and river defences has to be addressed to take account of tidal surges like those experienced in December. However, this has to be tempered by the fact there has been no evidence of rising sea levels over the last 20 years, nor is there likely to be in our lifetime.

I posed an annual question when I worked at a local Internal Drainage Board, both when I worked there and when I was a member of the board as a councillor. I always received the same response: “There has been no evidence of an increase in sea levels.”

Therefore our attention needs to move to tackling the more immediate threat to our area over the next 200 years of tidal river surges and ensuring the proper maintenance of our existing sea defences.

Our forefathers managed to cope with weather change and keep the sea at bay, so I am sure that the engineering brains of the 21st century and Mr Hayes’ Government are more than capable of rising to this challenge.

Craig Jackson

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