back to article Blighty to become old-time Inundation Nation

A top boffin has warned that Blighty may be headed into a "monsoon" period, possibly a decade or more in duration, in which we can expect much more flooding than has been the norm for the past generation or so. Interestingly, Professor Stuart Lane doesn't ascribe his predicted watery onslaught to climate change. He says the UK …


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  1. Ash

    "same priority as terrorism"

    What, so nobody gives a tit about it?

    This is BRITAIN! Our stiff upper lip is our flood defense!

  2. John Arthur

    "same priority as terrorism"

    So the ID card scheme should fix flooding too!

    Mine's the oilskin one with the sou'wester in the pocket

  3. Gordon Pryra

    "same priority as terrorism"

    That would probably be a bad idea

    I'm sure there have been more deaths and economical/environmental damage attributed to floods than any terrorists in the last 5 years

  4. Matt

    Ongoing plans for more building on flood plains could worsen the issue.

    One thing I still love about Britain is our ability to understate and not panic (except for perhaps poor old Jonesy).

    I heard another expert say that covering soil with concrete without any thought to drainage isn't helping either.

    So what kind of tax will Gordo think up to "protect us" from this one then?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Higher priority, surely?

    Because, you know, there's actually a chance it might have a major impact. And it's not something we've been dealing with on a day to day basis since the 1930s.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    ...So now I guess we have to sit back and wait for some green activist to email Vulture Central explaining that the piece is shortsighted and irresposible as *any* weather that departs from the norm is caused by the scourge of global warming rather than by any natural cycle, coupled of course with the customary demand for a re write.

  7. Rich Silver badge

    "hilltop deployable biodiversity payload flotation module"

    Lewis Page. Never a man to use one short word when six long ones would be funnier.

  8. Bad Beaver

    The bad

    The bad thing about floods is that they pose a real threat that everyone can see and has a clear understanding of, therefore they cannot be employed as a smoke screen to tinker with civil rights or used to beat you into fuller submission to the system due to your incredible FEAR, FEAR, FEAR. Unless you are hydrophobic, of course. They are much more inconvenient then terrorism.

  9. Pete


    CCTV cameras installed around all the vulnerable areas should nip this one in the bud.

    @AC: just let those green activists know that if they're worried about global warming then they should leave their fridge doors open. If only everyone could do this, especially the Chinese because there's an awful lot of them, then we could solve global warming at a stroke. Oh yes, and their freezer doors as well, just to make sure.

  10. Justin
    IT Angle

    Drought since 1960?

    Flooding used to be much worse - as evidenced by high water marks in places around the UK. Take Guildford for example : St. Nicolas' Church, about 5' above road level, 1968. There are hundreds of other "high water markings" on buildings around Britain. "Beyond living memory" ? It's a good job our predecessors knew a thing or two about how to record information for long-term use (no database, no backups, not even on paper records in the vaults of the council).

  11. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo


    I don't give a hoot, I live on a hill and have a food & water stockpile capable of sustatining me, my other half and the dog for 3 months, the rest of you can die and float around for a bit (don't forget to pay your council tax though)

  12. heystoopid


    Well if they don't like wet feet and have to wear wellies all the time , they can always migrate to drier more pleasant climates and then you would have to worry about neither just like our ancient ancestors did not so long ago in 1788 !

  13. Pete


    If it's not floods, it's sun-caused skin cancer. We're all doomed I tell you!

  14. Dave

    ID Cards

    Before long, you'll need an ID card before you're allowed to buy a property on a hill.

  15. Adam Foxton

    "same priority as terrorism"

    So we're just awaiting the introduction of Sea-Sea-TV now then?

  16. Sean Key

    "We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding" .. makes sense to me

    "We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people’s living memory, something that most of us have forgotten how to do."

    ....or switched off when our grandparents told us stories of how they survived, unless they forgot to....

    I think the sentence makes some sense.

  17. Stuart Rogers

    "same priority as terrorism"

    Does that mean the War on Terror is now the War on Terror and Flooding? WTF?

  18. alistair millington
    Thumb Up

    Geography 101

    It's not drainage or lack of that is the problem, it is the time taken to get the water from rain into the river (lead time). Normally this is slowed by some areas being grass, some areas being trees etc. rain slowed down at differing rates in different places. It's called interception.

    If the water isn't slowed down across the catchment area it hits the river too quickly and causes swell which floods.

    Water flowing into the river hits resistance by soil particles, rock (throughflow) or the blades of grass, leaves (surface flow / run off), slowing it down. Change that to a near frictionless pipe like our drains or a smooth tarmac road and there is no delay for the water.

    A rivers natural way of coping is to flood the flood plain. Which as humans are stupid is now where we all have lovely towns.

    It's not rocket science, It's GCSE geography. it is stupid builders and town planners over generations not understanding basic geography which we now have to live with, no amount of money can change these basic facts. It will just pass off the problem further down the rivers course to the next hapless individuals.

    Most of which can be blamed on out of town shopping areas, supermarkets (anything with a massive carpark) and government legislation not banning farmers from turning over land to housing or not making it illegal to use green sites over brown sites for new housing.

    Best start forresting all those upland areas where a river starts, only way to really impact on a rivers catchment area. Oh wait no we concrete them for windfarms now.

    Gotta love stupidity.

    Of course London is flooding for a different reason, it is on an aquifer, which means the mendip hills, cotswold hills etc all drain into the basin underneath London. Which as all industry has moved out leaves nothing to use that water. So it fills up, I believe londons deepest cellars already vanished underwater and of course the lowest tube stations need pumps 24/7.

    Think on that next time thames declares a hose pipe ban.

  19. Tom

    Re: Mwhahahahaha

    I live in Sheffield, which is built on lots of hills. You know, the city that flooded last summer?

    Ironically, it was Hillsborough which flooded quite badly. So, in conclusion: Hills don't stop flooding.

    PS: this icon is more appropriate than I think most people realise.

  20. Robert Harrison

    "same priority as terrorism"

    So the anti terrorism plods will be arresting buckets of flood water (for acting suspiciously around key government buildings) and holding them for 60 days without charge before unceremoniously dumping them into urgently needed prison swimming pools.

    Mines the one with the armbands velcro'd on.

  21. Christoph Silver badge

    Don't just build on flood plains

    Rather than just building on flood plains and waiting for them to flood, how about we dig a huge bowl into a flood plain? And then invite the entire world to watch the olympic stadium go Glug.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We're not all doomed

    Only creationists who can't/won't evolve fins and webbed feet. But don't over-evolve - webbed hands are no good for surfing the intertubes.

  23. Chris Miller

    hilltop deployable biodiversity payload flotation module

    But where would they find enough gopher wood?

  24. RW

    Is "climate" or "average weather" a myth?

    Chaos theorists have suggested that there is no stable long-term average weather; that the weather, being a chaotic phenomenon, is therefore subject to arbitrarily wide swings "on average", both long- and short-term. (I'm too lazy to go dig out the exact reference.)

    In a word, there is no "climate".

    Seems to me that this makes flood planning rather more difficult.

    Next week, icebergs in the Bay of Bengal and tropical jellyfish in the North Sea.

  25. Pyros

    I'm suprised

    I'm suprised that there's some nutjobs up there in Britain who don't know about this *very* regular event... but I guess they don't watch the Sci-Fi channel enough. (Interesting megadisaster movie involving London flooding out there.)

    Here, in Florida, even those deep into the rainy interior are always wary of our climate--even Jimmy Buffet wrote a song about it. Heck, Huricane Ivan was a very good case in point in doing so. (Mind you, for some reason the very tall plantlife in Florida leans heavily toward shallow roots, as sand pines and live oaks, when tipped juuuust right, fall on cars and houses. Fortuantly, most just lose branches, even if they get pretty big.)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm with SpitefulGOD

    I live on a big fat hill, so half the country being constantly inundated with floods can only send the value of my nice, dry house through the which point I can sell up and move to the Moon.

    Also, @Tom about Sheffield...yes, lots of sheffield did flood, but it wasn't the hilly was the low-lying areas surrounded by hills that had to learn to swim. Sheffield is surrounded by hills, for heaven's's more than just a social comment to say that you take a step down to live there :)

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Chaos and stochastics...


    <insert long rant about difference between climate and weather>


    Weather has short correlation time fluctuates fast and can (in fact) be modelled as a purely stochastic process on a suitable timescale (decades and slower)

    Climate on the other hand varies slowly on the timescale of >>decades. It is the average of the fast fluctuations that we call weather.

    So yes, we can define something as a climate and yes, the weather has something to do with it but can widely deviate from this "average". Think of Gaussian distributions.

    Penguin 'cause they can swim!

  28. David Robinson

    Why are floods worse now?

    In the thirties,forties and fifties there was an ongoing, thorough dredging and cleaning of rivers, dykes and ditches. Then came along the greens and said 'why are you spoiling our beautiful rivers by digging them out? They are much better left to be natural'. And the greens infiltrated the councils in the new environment departments and diverted the money that should be used to keep the rivers free flowing to painting masses of gaudy paints on roads (over the potholes nowadays) and to many other costly but useless council activities. So now our rivers will not carry the amount of water they should because they are silted up and floods occur much worse than they need to. Then, these green leaders get paid magnificent bonuses while their helpless householders have to lose their houses and live in caravans.


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