Not holding any water
I write in response to Paul Nuttall (WEP letters January 5). There are many factors which have contributed to the recent floods, but the EU has little to do with it.
The Water Framework Directive has been the primary driver for the restoration of our streams, rivers and lakes for the past 15 years.
Far from causing flooding, this legislation has enabled the protection of hundreds of miles of riverbanks from livestock and the creation of riparian buffer strips and woodland.
This reduces sediment inputs and slows the rate of water runoff into rivers.
Similar work is also facilitated by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), through Countryside Stewardship schemes.
Though the CAP is far from perfect, it is false to say it has resulted in the chopping down of trees.
In fact the opposite is true: thousands of hectares of new native woodland have been created through incentives such as the English Woodland Grant Scheme.
Dredging is seen by some as a panacea and the solution to flooding in the UK.
Used properly and in the right places, dredging can help reduce water levels on a local scale and prevent frequent low-level flooding in key locations.
However widespread, unregulated dredging would certainly do more harm than good, speeding up flows, mobilising sediment, increasing flood risk elsewhere, not to mention its ecological consequences.
Furthermore, dredging would have little effect on peak water levels during exceptional flood events such as the recent Boxing Day floods.
Where I can agree with Mr Nuttall is that the building of new houses on floodplains is a short-sighted strategy which will cost us all dearly in the long-term. As far as I am aware though, the EU does not tell us where to build our houses.
It may be convenient to scapegoat the EU for a crisis such as this, particularly with a referendum looming, but this time the arguments just don’t hold water.
Adam Walmsley via email
Battle of old and young
I often hear the young people of today asking the question: “Why should we have to subsidise the pensioners, they’ve had it too good”?
We all know that the pensioners purchased their properties for next to nothing, and earned wages far above what they were worth.
There is also a belief that it’s the pensioners who are bringing the NHS down to its knees, how dare they be ill.
I am told that there is another side to the coin, the young of today have been named ‘The have now generation’.
They can’t save, no, that’s taking things too far, however, why should they save when the easy availability of credit is there to tempt them?
I am also informed that this generation travel abroad for holidays in the sun, this in comparison to the pensioners who could hardly afford Blackpool.
They all have computers, and all the latest technological gadgetry that money can buy, including cars that they certainly can’t afford. Wow, now I am really impressed.
I have good news to those young people who subscribe to the idea that the pensioners of today have had it too good, so why on earth should they subsidise them?
It seems that we can’t really afford to pay them the whopping state pensions they receive, you know, one of the lowest pensions in Europe.
So the so-called Triple Lock in place to protect the state pension may have to go.