Friday, 20 November 2009

Flooding Hits The Eden

Up here in Cumbria we have been affected by some of the worst flooding in living memory. For many in the Eden Valley the affects have not been too bad. However communities along the Eamont and on the main Eden at Appleby have been affected and my thoughts are with all those that have been flooded - it must be a very traumatic time. The Lakeland rivers have been particularly badly affected and the TV pictures showing the devastation in Workington, Keswick and Cockermouth are very distressing to see.

Is this climate change and the shape of things to come? If it is we will all have to learn to to adapt and allevaite against these big flood events.

Here at ERT we are leading on a project called ALFA (Adaptive Landuse for Flood Alleviation). The aim of the project is to develop innovative schemes that would aim to protect citizens within the Eden Catchment against the effects of flooding due to climate change. A major part of the project will be to look at ways of storing water or discharge of peak floods within the Eden. Flood Management is a Europe wide issue and we are part of a transnational consortium of organisations based in Germany, Holland, Belgium and France. We are also working with the Environment Agency on a major flood alleviation scheme on the Thacka Beck, on the north side of Penrith. The beck is being diverted which will allow the creation of a wetland storage area to be be brought into usage during flood events.

ALFA is a long term project (no quick fix's) and we are working with Durham University and the Environment Agncy to identify key rivers that have the biggest effect on the timing and peaks of flood flows. Once this has been completed we will then identify projects that could be undertaken in the upper reaches of the catachment that may help to reduce the impacts of flooding on communties in the lower part of the catchment such as Carlisle and Penrith. There will be a lot of buy-in required from a great many stakeholders to make this happen but events over the last 24 hours show that the stakes are very high indeed.

My thoughts go out to all those affected by these terrible events.

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