Save The Ribble

A blog dedicated to preserving the beauty and delicate ecosystem of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes. Save the Ribble Campaign is not responsible for the content of external blogs or websites which link here.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ribble Increased Floodrisk Alert for Autumn and Winter

The River Ribble is at "an increased risk of flooding" over the next six months, through Autumn and into Winter.

This increased floodrisk is due to the high levels of rainfall we are experiencing this year, which has had the effect of saturating the Ribble's floodplains pretty much to capacity with no prospect of drying out before the wet Autumn that forecasters are predicting begins.

The extraordinarily high levels of rain that have already fallen this Summer are 200% above the average from May to July, making the ground saturated throughout the Ribble corridor, particularly on the low-lying floodplains.

These figures have been released by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, whose statistics also show that:

'the speed of the River Ribble is 465% faster than average and that the water saturated in the soil is at an exceptionally high level.' according to This Is Lancashire.

Ribbleside residents are eternally grateful for our floodplain areas which have protected our communities from the serious floods which have affected so many areas so far this year, and for our free-flowing River which drains all that rainwater away (the Ribble being at low tide during local episodes of flash-floods in Preston and Penwortham meant the floodwaters were drained quickly), but it seems that the threat is not over. The already saturated ground will not be able to hold much more of the predicted high levels of rainfall expected over the Autumn and Winter months, which means that the Ribble will be at "an increased risk of flooding" during the coming months as the floodplains will struggle to cope.

Flash floods earlier this summer in Middleforth, Penwortham and Broadgate, Preston.

As Save The Ribble have pointed out, the Flood Defences in the Broadgate area are in a woeful state of repair and we need Preston City Council to spend money on repairing our essential flood defences NOT on funding feasability studies for barrages and floodplain building developments which will ruin our environment and actually INCREASE OUR RISK OF FLOODING.

Broadgate during high rainfall and a speeding Ribble surging past those fragile post-and-panel defences.

According to This Is Lancashire, 'The Environment Agency has already given "an enhanced flood risk" warning to all of England and Wales, and with forecasters predicting a wet autumn the Ribble looks set to have another record breaking season, which can only be bad news for residents on the Ribble floodplains.'

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology summarise their findings:
'The Monthly Hydrological Summary for the UK, published today [15th August 2007], includes an analysis of the unprecedented summer flooding. The wettest May-July period for England & Wales in a record from 1767 resulted in near-saturated soil conditions and river flows more typical of a notably wet winter, with extensive floodplain inundations in both June and July. In the July Hydrological Summary, scientists at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the British Geological Survey provide a detailed appraisal of a summer flood episode that has no close modern parallel.'

This Is Lancashire report that the the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology statistics show 'the speed of the River Ribble is 465% faster than average and that the water saturated in the soil is at an exceptionally high level.'

Spokesman for the CEH Barnaby Smith told This Is Lancashire that "The soils are extremely wet in comparison with previous summer months and with more rain predicted it is unlikely soils will dry out. We are going to get more floods. The River Ribble will be vulnerable to winter floods over the next six months."'

Ian Rowland, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency told This Is Lancashire that "We are dealing with a force of nature here and you can never say never to a flood occurring. We can only manage the risks.

"However we do monitor flood levels throughout the year and try to attain the strongest possible idea of whether a river will flood.

"In the event of a flood we ensure the river is put on high alert and flood warnings are sent out to the local media."

'It will depend on weather patterns throughout the winter months if the Ribble breeches its banks however some of the causes of flooding are already in place along much of the Ribble.

The Environment Agency encourages those who believe they are at a serious risk flooding of flooding to call the Floodline on 0845988188 or visit, and sign up for direct flood warnings.' (This Is Lancashire)

For more on issues of flooding and the Ribble see:
the Dangers of Riverworks;
Why A Barrage Will Increase Ribble Floodrisk;
Why building on the Penwortham Green Belt will increase floodrisk;
and why the Environment Agency are opposed to further developments on floodplain.

You can read the This Is Lancashire story here.

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