UK Floods Impacts Widen. Wildlife, Food Security Under Threat?

February 10, 2014

If you haven’t checked in over the weekend –  there’s been a lot of news in recent days about continuing extreme events in the UK . (by all means scroll down to catch up).  I think what we are seeing this winter, with extremes in the US east, west, and arctic, as well as the UK, are setting up to create greater awareness in the english speaking world about the cost of climate change.

I’ll continue to update as I can – today is a busy day. New video coming in the next day or two.


As gales swept southern and western parts of the UK, with already drenched counties bearing the brunt of the storms, it has emerged that parliament’s select committee on the environment warned in a report last year that “the current model for allocating flood defence funding is biased towards protecting property, which means that funding is largely allocated to urban areas. Defra’s [the Department of the Environment’s] failure to protect rural areas poses a long-term risk to the security of UK food production, as a high proportion of the most valuable agricultural land is at risk of flooding.”

“We need a response from government that recognises the importance for our long-term food security of safeguarding high-quality farmland,” said Neil Sinden of the Campaign to Protect Rural England. “We need to view the countryside as more than a place for building, and value it for the food it provides.”

Defra has estimated that 35,000 hectares of high-quality horticultural and arable land will be flooded at least once every three years by the 2020s. This could rise to around 130,000 hectares by the 2080s if there is no change to current flood defence provision.

Peter Kendall, chairman of the National Farmers Union, which has produced evidence showing that 58% of England’s most productive farmland lies within a floodplain, said the floods were a wake-up call for a country that has “believed for too long that producing food wasn’t a big issue”.

“We are seeing more of these intense extreme weather events,” Kendall said. “Climate change does now really challenge mankind’s ability to feed itself.”

9 Responses to “UK Floods Impacts Widen. Wildlife, Food Security Under Threat?”

  1. The cruel irony is that farming has become part of the problem in Britain. Industrial agriculture involves deforesting upland areas, which increases flooding on the floodplain. Add soil erosion and compaction and it’s clear that farming practices need to change as the climate changes.

    We cannot protect all farm land from flooding – the water has to go somewhere and if it’s not in rural areas, then urban areas will have to be flooded instead.

    Yes, we need a debate about food production, but it’s clear the current farming system isn’t sustainable. this article by George Monbiot covers the subject well:

    • dumboldguy Says:

      An excellent and far-reaching article by Monbiot—-with excellent references, some of which read like fiction. Read particularly about the damage being done by the UK branch of the “greedy rich” with their grouse shooting if you want your mind blown.

      The whole article is a testament to the stupidity of “those in charge” of land use and water “control” in the UK. They exhibit the same kind of “brainpower at the helm” that allowed the American colonies to win the Revolution (and then move on to our own brand of stupidity with regard to the environment).

    • anotheralionel Says:

      As Monbiot writes:

      ‘Under the worst environment secretary this country has ever suffered…’

      and that is against some strong competition from earlier administrations, take the ‘mad cow disease’ brouhaha for one thing. But then Paterson belongs to the worst administration this country has ever suffered, or since that small disagreement with the American colonies anyway. For health and education are suffering with defence being undermined by vacillation and wrong decisions WRT the composition of the Air Group for the new carriers. This latter from somebody who has served at that particular sharp end.

      Let us hope that Paterson does not appear later in a more important post for it should be recalled that the dilatory, at best, Lord George Germain who showed his metal at Minden later displayed his worth by helping to lose the American colonies. If a more courageous and able man had been in post as Secretary of State for the Colonies then much of history could have been very different. The French would not have bust their bank assisting the Rebels for one thing with the history of France being very different.

      A careful study of that history will bring one to the conclusion that both sides were in the right, initially and there was much more to the spark that ignited the rebellion than most are aware of. But that would be to go down another road.

  2. Norfolk is my home county and is certainly not suffering as badly as many places in the West of the UK, but the British government’s policy of organised retreat in the face of climate change and sea level rise will undoubtedly see many more incidents like those we are currently observing in the coming years. We ain’t seen nothing yet!

  3. rayduray Says:

    “The Discovery of Rain” or “Innocence And Its Rewards”….

  4. Carbon Brief has some graphs from the Met Office. The two data graphs for January rainfall in Southern England since 1910 are pretty disturbing.

  5. […] If you haven't checked in over the weekend – there's been a lot of news in recent days about continuing extreme events in the UK . (by all means scroll down to catch up). I think what we are seeing this winter, with extremes in …  […]

  6. […] 2014/02/10: PSinclair: UK Floods Impacts Widen. Wildlife, Food Security Under Threat? […]

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