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.