Flooding on the somerset levels

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Flooding on the somerset levels

  1. 1. Winter 2013/14 Prolonged heavy rain led to Flooding on the Somerset Levels
  2. 2. An area of coastal plain and wetland in central Somerset 650km2 Flat land lying close to sea level Mainly agricultural, arable and grazing land with some peat extraction Important habitats for birds and plants. 32 Sites of Special Scientific Interest What are the Levels?
  3. 3. BLACKDOWN HILLS Where are the Levels? Think: Give 3 reasons why the Levels are prone to flooding
  4. 4. Ian Liddell-Grainger, MP for Bridgwater, said a huge area of Somerset was "drowning” Homes are uninhabitable, farms are unworkable and jobs are being expensively destroyed. On the Somerset Levels, people are scared and angry – very angry Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane MP) said: "People on the levels are unable to get their children to school, they are unable to get to work and local businesses such as pubs have lost a large amount of business." Impacts
  5. 5. 600 homes affected Some villages cut off Major roads blocked Impacts
  6. 6. Farmers were prevented from grazing their animals. Many cows had to be evacuated or sold Financial cost likely to be in excess of £10 million Impacts
  7. 7. There were reports of increased crime. Local businesses lost trade Longer journey times for locals due to road closures Some home owners were forced to evacuate from their property Impacts
  8. 8. Responses Rescue boats were deployed to help stranded people Royal Marines were sent in to help with flood relief UK government promised at least £30 million to help with repairs The Flooding on the Levels Action Group FLAG supported people in need of help Extra police patrols in response to reports of crime A 20 year flood action plan has been drawn up Think: Which of these are short and which are long term responses?
  9. 9. The Environment Agency installed giant pumps from the Netherlands to lower water levels Responses
  10. 10. Traditional solutions to flooding Embankments alongside main rivers and pumping stations to remove water from the lowest lying land
  11. 11. Traditional solutions to flooding Man made drains and a system of sluice gates to control water levels
  12. 12. Traditional solutions to flooding Dredging of rivers to increase their drainage capacity
  13. 13. Traditional solutions to flooding Sea defences along the coast to prevent inundation by high tides Photo Steve Daniels Source: Geograph project
  14. 14. Traditional management options Government’s 20 year flood action draft plan calls for… More dredging Building of higher embankments Raising of certain key roads Installation of permanent pumps Building of a coastal flood protection barrage to hold back highest tides Think: What are the arguments for and against hard engineering solutions to flooding?
  15. 15. What are the management options for the future? Should we spend more money on traditional flood protection? Should the Levels be allowed to return to a natural wetland state? Should management strategies be more sustainable?
  16. 16. An alternative management option? Return the Levels to a natural wetland state Think: What are pros and cons of “doing nothing”? Stop spending money on flood protection to protect a relatively small number of properties on a natural flood plain Create nature reserves and prioritize needs of wildlife
  17. 17. Sustainable management options Sustainable management strategies could involve: • Reducing / slowing / storing runoff from surrounding hills by tree planting, river basin management and pond creation • Improvements to key roads • Allowing selected areas to return to wetland • Encouraging farmers to invest in more flood-tolerant activities • Compensate owners of the most vulnerable property to relocate away from the floodplain
  18. 18. Example questions…. • Name an example of a flood in the rich part of the world. • Describe the primary effects of a flood. • Describe the physical factors that lead to an increase in flooding. • How can human activities increase the risk of flooding? • Describe the benefits of hard engineering strategies in reducing flood risk. • What are the benefits of soft engineering approaches to flood management? • What are the benefits and disadvantages of a flood protection strategy that you have studied? • Explain how flood management schemes can be made more sustainable.
  19. 19. Flooding on the Somerset Levels Noel Jenkins April 2014 Sources: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/24/uk-floods-major-incident-somerset-levels http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-26447005 http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/point-plan-reduce-Somerset-Levels-flooding/story-20528163- detail/story.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_flooding_of_2013–14_on_the_Somerset_Levels http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1386841 All photos by Noel Jenkins unless otherwise indicated juicy geography

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