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Opinion : Who wants to be King Canute?

| February 25, 2014


As the flood waters subside those affected start the painful task of rebuilding their lives and salvaging any possessions that have not been ruined by flood water.

It must be a heartbreaking task to go back into what was your home to find everything ruined. Indeed my heart goes out to those affected.

Already a package of measures has been announced by Central Government to help those affected.

The measures include a a Council Tax rebate of at least three months and from the 1st April 2014 Repair and Renewal Grants to provide financial support for households and businesses to contribute to work that improves a property’s ability to withstand future flooding.

Flooded home owners and businesses will be able to claim grants of up to £5,000, once a survey to identify appropriate resilience measures has been completed however the cost of the survey is part of the grant.

But hang on a moment. Most of the properties and businesses flooded because they are situated in the flood plain of a river or on an area liable to flood due to poor drainage or its low lying nature.

Giving a Council Tax rebate to affected homes is fair enough however I am not so sure about the £5,000 grants for work that improves a property’s ability to withstand future flooding.

Are we going to see King Canute style measures put up around properties to make them withstand the elements of nature which may be as futile as Canute’s attempts to hold back the approaching waves?

Will we see each house issued with a blow up dinghy so if flood waters invade a life saving dinghy can be launched from an upper storey window?

Would it not be far better to accept that nature will always win and start moving houses and businesses out from the areas of land where flooding occurs? It may sound drastic but in the long run surely it’s the only practial solution.

Why on earth so many homes were ever allowed to be built on land susceptible to flooding I will never know.

It’s highly likely that this years flooding will happen again and who knows next time water levels may be even higher.

The powers that be should be looking further than homes that have flooded and try to identify how many more will be affected if the waters are higher next time.

One thing is for sure anyone looking to buy a house in Marlow who happens to type the name of the town in to a web search engine may well think twice when seeing the recent pictures of the floods.

The stark reality is that even those unaffected by the flooding may have trouble selling their homes after the recent events.

The River Thames is to Marlow what Vesuvius was to Pompeii. The only difference is that when Pompeii was covered in lava the people had the sense to abandon the town however the people of Marlow seem to think it’s OK to go back and carry on as normal even though this years flood are likely to happen again.

What do you think?

*Don’t forget my blogs are published twice a week here, on the Wycombe Today site, every Tuesday evening around 8pm and late on Friday evenings.

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