This is a telling and interesting report from the Guardian which makes Dr Alf’s point but not in the way that the Guardian and others try to suggest.
As a child, from the age of 3, my late mother and I were required by her employers in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, to go by train to Patterdale. In former years, I went by car but was constantly carsick hence the instruction to use the train. From age 4, I walked on Helvellyn, visited Windermere, went to Glenridding, the area now being subjected to flooding, visited Ullswater, watched sheepdog trials, visited Newby Bridge and read all of Arthur Ransome’s books. I have a good memory and all of the roads, infrastructure and bridges were much the same as now yet all these years later with bigger populations, many more visitors and 10 times as many cars the amounts of tax paid are not reflected in the infrastructure that we see. There are no American-style storm drains, bridges look exactly the same as they did in my childhood and the roads built by the Victorians and by the Roman legions nearly 2000 years ago have simply had a layer of tarmac placed over the top of them.
There are no proper flood defences and those that exist since flooding about 10 years ago are inadequate because the Government has failed to dredge rivers of silt as they failed to do last year in the Somerset levels.
Dr Alf calls for sensible risk assessment which is the right thing to do, but I want to also see an audit conducted with forensic skill on what money the Government has allocated to local authorities in this region of Cumbria, how it was spent and where the rest of it went. Where there are proven instances of criminality and financial irregularity uncovered by this process, the money trail should be followed so that financial discovery, sequestration of assets and prosecutions can begin.
The Meteorological Office which was fired by Tesco PLC 3 years ago for inaccurate forecasting and by the BBC for the same reason this year is accountable because the Environment Agency relies on them for weather forecasting accuracy.
In short civil servants at the Environment Agency have relied on inaccurate advice and money which should have been spent on infrastructure in NorthWest England and Cumbria has not been, despite warnings from property and casualty insurers that what the Government and local authorities have been doing is inadequate.
It is now time for the people to hold the politicians and the bureaucrats to account.