The report outlining the new strategy for flood risk management confirms that the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs is driven by cost savings.
It may well be prudent to withdraw maintenance on estuary and coastal structures or even allow the breaching of some existing defences, but this will not solve the dilemma of upstream flooding. Existing rivers and watercourses suffer at present from the systematic neglect of any planned preventive maintenance which, if instituted, would ensure flows are maximised at times of need.
A few years ago on a visit to Guyana I witnessed the result of neglect through lack of maintenance to the original Dutch-constructed drainage system built around the low lying area of Georgetown.
During periods of heavy rain the novel system of tidal flaps were inoperative. This necessitated the removal of water by a rather haphazard system of pumping, which at times proved ineffectual.
The salient point is that maintenance must be routinely undertaken for any system to function effectively.
James Kirkbright (M), Seasons Cottage, Cookswell, Shillingstone, Dorset, DT11 0QZ