Eskeez was founded in the West Country, and although we ship our thermal clothing all over the world, Somerset and Devon are two counties very dear to our hearts. So it has been a very tough few months for us watching the extreme flooding across the area. In this article, we take a quick look at some of the causes of the flooding, what it means for local businesses and what is going to happen in the future.
In case you have been living in a bubble for the past few months, vast areas of Somerset farmland and many riverside or coastal villages and towns in Cornwall and Devon have been underwater for several weeks; a consequence of relentless bad weather.
HOW BAD HAS THE WEATHER BEEN?
This diagram from the BBC news site shows just how much rainfall we’ve had in such a short period of time.
BUDGET PROBLEMS & PRIORITIES
One of the big controversial issues at the time of writing is the problem of budget. The environment agency claims that there simply isn’t enough money to defend everywhere. As the climate worsens and we see more and more extremes, the EA says we will have to make tougher choices on what we protect. Over the years, government mandates and rules have prioritised the Environment Agencies spending in this order:
- Firstly, money must always be spent on the protection of life. Makes sense, no amount of money can buy a human life eh?
- Secondly, priority must be given to businesses, homes and property
- Finally, farm land (etc) which is where the Somerset levels come in
So is it a simple matter of economics that means we must accept flooding to be a growing fact of life in the future? Not good news for the farmers and homeowners suffering in Somerset.
WHAT COULD BE DONE?
Many people are calling for their rivers to be dredged. The EA’s response is that dredging ‘could’ be a part of a bigger solution. Dredging, in the past, has been seen as a poor cost-effective solution to flooding, because it is very expensive – so more research is being done to see how well it helps. Dredging could also be bad for the environment too, as habitats are disturbed by the heavy machinery.
Flood barriers are another solution and technology is developing to allow these to be easily transportable or quickly erected where and when they are most needed. One natural flood barrier is the simple process of planting trees. Trees naturally slow the flow of water over land (unlike tarmac) and also absorb water into their routes. Planting trees, obviously, has a great benefit on the environment too! For more information on tree-based solutions, check out this link.
THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF FLOODING
The village of “Muchelney” is a typical example of how flooding affects people’s lives. The only way in and out of the village is by boat, which comes and goes every hour. Where there were once roads and tracks, now there is only muddy cold water. Here are some more of the negative effects on peoples lives:
- Insurance rates, in some cases, have gone up 5-fold
- People unable to sell homes
- Business put on hold, materials and stock ruined
- Many businesses simply cannot survive being out of action for weeks on end
- And of course, there is the terrible emotional impact
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
Right now, it isn’t clear what is going to be the best way to prepare for the future. More research needs to be done by our best climate scientists, environmentalists and geographers to find a long-term solution to growing weather concerns. It has been bad in the West Country yes, but these extremes are more and more common all over the planet. It’s time for us all to think carefully about how we live our lives as a society and what effect we have on our environment. It has all gotten very real…
One way you could prepare for bad weather is by stocking up on Thermal clothing for the family. Visit our shop, follow the instructions and you can get 10 % off as a bonus!
* Image credits: bbc.co.uk