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Sunday 16 February 2014

Booker Exposed As Total Charlatan

Once again, the Telegraph has given over a whole page of today’s edition to the latest preposterous rant from Christopher Booker, who deploys the term “warmist”, the now customary term of denigration for anyone who accepts the consensual position on climate science, and tells “Misconceived EU and UK policies provide a better explanation of the floods than 'climate change'”.
Flooding on the Somerset Levels

Julia Sligo of the Met Office is subjected to the usual character assassination, before the latest secret weapon in the Booker arsenal is revealed: he has found another blogger who says what he would like to hear. Paul Homewood writes Not A Lot Of People Know That, which is a sort of UK version of Anthony Watts’ Watts Up With That, another source much favoured by Booker.

Homewood had discovered that there was more rain in December 1929 and January 1930 than in the December and January just gone. The inference is clear: it cannot be the rain that done it. But there is no accounting for significant wet weather last Winter, the subsequent levels of groundwater, the intense concentration of bad weather since mid-December, and building on the Thames floodplain.

Moreover, Homewood does not tell what the effect of the 1929/30 rainfall was on the Somerset Levels, or the comparative numbers of people living in the villages there. But it is enough for Booker to lie, and lie badly.

We now further have an official admission from the Environment Agency that the reason why it so disastrously abandoned dredging of our rivers such as the Thames and those needed to drain floodwater from the Somerset Levels when it took control in 1996 was that absurdly expensive new EU waste management rules made it ‘uneconomical’ to dispose of the silt dredged out of them”. We have no admission.

Moreover, as we now know, Booker’s earlier rant about the restoration of flood plains in the Levels was utterly misinformed. He blamed this on the EU. He claimed that local drainage boards were no longer involved. He asserted that wildlife was being put above people. All of this was wrong. Take the case of Southlake Moor on the Levels, restored to a floodplain in 2010.

This work was done not by the EA, but the Parrett Internal Drainage Board, one of eight floodplains being restored. Why was this being done? To “allow safe control of flood waters during winter ... manage water levels and prevent rivers from overflowing ... promote biodiversity and prevent flooding”. These floodplains can hold millions of cubic metres of water. Booker’s claims are the opposite of the truth.

What has happened in Somerset, and around the Thames Valley, is being deliberately misrepresented by the likes of Christopher Booker, perhaps through his own wilfulness and ignorance. He is a complete charlatan. End of story.


keith said...

"He asserted that wildlife was being put above people." Ah, the old Eurocommunist nature reserves argument.

Go on google maps and have a look at the Somerset levels. There's a road, marked yellow, that runs from Street to Bridgwater along the crest of the Polden Hills, which split the levels into north and south.
Now look north, there's a series of dark areas of ditches and small lakes or ponds. These are worked out peat diggings that have been turned into a patchwork of wetland nature reserves. There are far more on the north than the south levels. But the ones on north have only recently been flooded (The RSPB's Ham Wall near Glastonbury was flooded a couple of weeks ago, you can read about it on their website under reserves). Greylake reserve on the south near Othery was already flooded in late December. And the north has a lot more low lying land than the south levels yet less flooding. Could have something to do with the Poldens acting as shelter but still raises the question: what was Booker's point about nature reserves?

Al Rodger said...

This Homewood character is flakier than you suggest. In the item you refer to he is using the Met Office Historic Stations data plus a value quoted in a yearbook from 1930. And the figures he is quoting are for the 4 months October to January and for two locations only - Ross-on-Wye and Oxford.
The last two months December & January for all SW England & Wales and also for all SE England had record levels of rain according to HadUKP which provides a record back to 1873. This was mainly due to the very high January value, particularly in SE England where I would call the January rainfall a 1-in-2,000 year event. Either that or the result of some sort of climate change. Has there been any talk of there being some sort of climate change recently?
For a national paper to be found quoting such a silly source as Homewood speaks volumes about the quality of its content.

Peter Smithson said...

I just found this page after writing my own observations on Bookers article - http://someblokeontheinternet.blogspot.de/2014/02/shoddy-mixed-up-thinking-of-typical.html

Tim Fenton said...

Thanks Peter - much appreciated.