Your debate (NCE last week) was illuminating. It highlights the gulf between the straightforward logical approach of civil engineers and the political approach of managers on behalf of government.
On the one hand is sensible but dry logic noting that anything is possible albeit failing to justify the arguments economically or socially. On the other are slapdash but emotionally appealing statements apparently linking 'it is impossible to guarantee flood protection' with 'flooding is inevitable'.
Of course flooding is not inevitable - if in doubt ask the Dutch. But flooding may be inevitable at the current rate of expenditure on flood defence.
It is sad that the very civil servants responsible for flood defence do not make clear the difference between what is possible and what they believe is affordable. Perhaps they are anticipating the future political need to ascribe the inevitable flooding to inadequate engineering rather than inadequate funding.
Adam Wilson (F), 92 Tarvin Road, Littleton, Chester CH3 7DF