This is a bit tongue in cheek, but as public transport has been championed by Lib-Dims and Groons, we see Cornwall reliant on buses and airplanes since the Dawlish line was cut and trains stuck up in the Pennines due to the high winds. (I noted the Ardrossan turbine that caught fire in 2011 was hit by 160mph winds so those in North Wales and the North west over the last 24 hours at 110mph are but a wee blow!)
So for the Rail network Electricity is King. Except of course when it is a third rail that goes through a flood or overhead lines in ‘a bit of a blow’. So when a train gets all wrapped up in it’s pantograph and the lights go out they call in a diesel locomotive to get it through to Edinburgh. And yes this 2006 Class 57 loco was named after “Thunderbirds” and is named Virgil Tracey. So for all those Virgin passengers it really is “Thunderbirds are go” Where next, Space?
Our thoughts are with those in flooded houses and on the Somerset Levels. I think Eric Pickles addressed it very well when he described it a bit like after a burglary. Even though the waters recede, those effected have lost confidence and the stress of each rain cloud is very real to them. Our planners and the environment agency’s experts have a lot to answer for. As do the Climate doom-mongers who threaten this as part of the future. All building should have resilience built in. We don’t know what the weather will bring but we should remember recent prognosis of the Met Office that suggested a dry winter. Climate is to a great extent cyclical. Been there, got the T-shirt. Maybe we will have fairs and elephants on the Thames in future winters. Possibly vineyards in York and points North. Humanity and nature, as it always has, will simply evolve to deal with it. Look at the Community spirit in those flooded areas. It does suggest that these Gold, Silver and Bronze commands should be kicked into the long grass and localism should be given it’s head. Local people can make much better and more appropriate decisions given the resources.
Two observations on the Thames flooding. To stop flooding in Maidenhead and Staines a multi million project constructed the Jubilee River. It ends at Wraybury and Datchett, an area not badly flooded since 1947. Coincidence? Just another issue that rings bells with Somerset:
Nigel Lawson: Floods Are A Wake-Up Call To Focus On Resilience
It has emerged that the Environment Agency rejected calls to dredge the flood-hit lower reaches of the Thames because of the presence of the endangered mollusc. In a 2010 report, seen by the Mail, they ruled out dredging between Datchet and Staines because the river bed was home to the vulnerable creatures. And even though a public consultation indicated support for de-silting work, the quango said it would be ‘environmentally unacceptable’ due to the ‘high impact on aquatic species’. –Daniel Martin, Daily Mail, 13 February 2014
Another point was that many houses are built on stilts or brickwork raised more than a metre above the ’47 floods. Infilled with gravel and with gravel roadways rather than tarmac and concrete. Electrics raised above hazard levels. These houses have not flooded. More recent houses are not so protected but have been approved by planning and the environment agency. They are mostly sitting under feet of water. Does that suggest that local planning and environment agency reports have simply not been fit for purpose? Like the Somerset levels, it would seem that much of this could, if not be prevented, have been manageable without such a heavy financial and personal cost. The old saying ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ comes to mind!