Letter: Flood prevention

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Daniel Butler's excellent article "Bring back flood plains - to stop flooding" (6 November) concludes that "we're never going to reverse the riverside developments that have already occurred" on flood plains. This does not prevent us trying to stop further developments.

The widespread damage that occurred in the South Midlands at Easter 1998 has been attributed, in part, to the practice of building on flood plains. Yet, within a year of the flooding, public campaigns have had to be launched in Milton Keynes and Northampton to try to prevent even more building.

Flood plains are a neglected area of environmental concern and as a result have become easy prey for developers. The flood risk is recognised and all kinds of convoluted engineering proposals are put forward to try to mitigate this but at the end of the day, as many a local resident will tell you, the water has to go somewhere, whether it be up through the drains or in through the back door and/or downstream. In Stony Stratford, the water floods into our homes and businesses, then goes downstream to our neighbours in Newport Pagnell.

Daniel Butler reports that the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee recently decided that many flood defence schemes were a waste of money. We couldn't agree more. The best defences against flooding are the flood plains. Let's protect them while we can.

GWEN YATES

The Friends of the Mill Fields

Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

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