UK floods: urban water professor urges Government to listen to science

Flood warning

As severe weather warnings remain in place across the south of England and Wales, the political storm between the Government and the Environment Agency continues.

Professor Richard Ashley, Professor of Urban Water at the University of Sheffield, who wrote a report on flooding risk for the Labour Government in 2004, said its findings have been ignored and politicians need to stop disregarding science.

"This Government doesn’t listen to science, the previous Government didn't listen to science – we need the Government to start listening and stop going for soundbites and short-termism.

"In our report we predicted that the sorts of things that are happening now were going to come about. We also showed that it was impossible for us to build our way out of these problems."

More than 5,000 properties have already been flooded across the South West and the Thames Valley and with more rain predicted and water levels continuing to rise, weather forecasters predict the worst is not yet over.

Professor Ashley continued: "The Government has failed to take any notice of our scientific report and the only outcome that happened was Sir Michael Pitt's review in 2007, which I was part of.

"But even then the Water Management Act which came out in the wash up of the last Government has not been implemented by the present Prime Minister.

"The current Government, especially the Department for Communities and Local Government, is obsessed with deregulation.

"They are also obsessed with cutting the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ budget at great risk to people in communities at risk of flooding. For them to rubbish the Environment Agency is frankly disingenuous and stupid."


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Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
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