Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Flood defences....

I've been away a bit so haven't been able to report much on the great Tonbridge floods. Mr. Books is part way up a hill so I knew the shop and, more importantly, the books would survive but I did have a bit of a hairy moment when I heard the loud speaker vans going around announcing evacuations like some scene from a disaster movie! People were lining the big bridge to see the river in what can only be described as torrent. It was up to road level at the bridge. Wetherpoons was closed (actually the only time I've ever fancied a spur of the moment pint there!) and my understanding is that it hasn't reopened all of Christmas. Very costly indeed for the pub chain I should imagine but I'm sure they'll claim most of it back on insurance. Further down the High Street on Christmas Eve there were police and Environment Agency officials in high viz jackets everywhere you looked. I knew how serious things were though when I realised that even McDonalds had been forced to close. That must be a first! The car parks in the riverside apartments were under two feet of water even on Boxing Day when I went for an investigative walk. Funny that, what with them being below the river level and all! Not sure of the wisdom of that idea. But, then again, presumably they were built like that on the understanding that the Leigh flood barrier could hold back even the Red Sea and thereby protect Tonbridge. The question remains as to whether or not the barrier did do just that or, as some were muttering last week, that there was some sort of mechanical fault and the barrier failed us. Anyone aware of the latest thinking on that? Did they successfully regulate the flow of the Medway or did someone or something make a boo boo? .... Some pictures will follow soon

3 comments:

Dave said...

I don't think that losing trade for a few days at Wetherspoons would make much of a dent in the groups profits. Unlike my son who runs a pub just outside Yalding. It did not flood but was without power for 5 days.


And if you live in East Peckham or Yalding it would seem to them that water was released though Tonbridge at about the level that would keep the High Street clear but would flood much of East Peckham and all of Yalding.


Brett said...

I thought water was released as storage above barrier had reached capacity and they were expecting further rainfall? Stuck between rock and hard place of either letting Leigh and Edenbridge flood or those downstream?... Anyway, can see investigation is to be done be Environment agency on this... On a related note - still raining now and warnings for rain tomorrow - hopefully not as bad as past week but seems no let up at the moment....

Paul Bailey said...

Brett, this week's Courier confirms what you say about the Environment Agency having to release some water after the flood barrier reached capacity.

It's worth reflecting for a moment that, at a time when the budget for flood defences has been cut, this country is still spending millions of pounds on overseas aid. A large chunk of it is even going to countries which can afford to send rockets into space and construct their own aircraft carriers!

What makes it even worse is that our dopey Prime Minister has ring-fenced this money, meaning it is immune from spending cuts. It's so ludicrous you couldn't make it up, could you?