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Posted on Monday 18th June 2007

Action needed on flooding

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Having spent Friday bailing out my cellar  I am very
concerned about the flooding. This extreme weather is
exactly what we can expect more of as climate change
gathers pace. We need to learn lessons very quickly.
It is clear that Sheffield's infrastructure can't
cope with such extreme weather. We need major investment
to improve Sheffield's drains and river defences.
Yorkshire Water's parent company Kelda have recently
announced £338m profits and are giving 32p dividends to
it's shareholders. This money should have been invested to
improve the drains, sewers and river defences to ensure the
safety of Yorkshire residents.

South Yorkshire's flood-defence strategy needs to be
re-examined so that more emphasis is placed in creating a
sustainable forestry and agricultural economy that would
prevent the result of heavy rainfall suddenly entering our
rivers and streams. The flooding highlights how essential
our green-spaces, wildlife habitats and woodland are in
cushioning us from flooding and that nature conservation
needs proper long term government investment.

We are demanding more and more of our drains-by tarmacking
vast areas of our city, building more roads and paving
over front gardens we are increasing the run off and making
matters worse when the bad weather strikes. We need to
reverse the trend, encouraging people to remove the hard
surfaces and replace with grass and gardens. The Decent
Homes programme should be ensuring that existing homes are
watertight and upgraded so that they can face the challenge
of more extreme weather.New buildings should all be equipped
with green roof's that will help soak up the rain as well
as encourage wildlife.Systems to collect rainwater to flush
toilets and water gardens should also be commonplace.

The City not only needs to set stringent targets to reduce
our greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to change
our spending priorities to prepare for the even worse
weather that is on the way.

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