Flood prevention depends on restoration of the wetlands

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The Independent Online
From Mr T. S. Sands Sir: Tom Wilkie and Steve Connor ("Scientists dismiss link with global warming", 2 February) highlight the causes of recent flooding in north-west Europe. On the mainland, as in Britain, we have successfully drained our natural bogs which acted as sponges, and engineered away our flood plains which naturally accommodated excess water in the lowlands. We have been trying to forget that river catchments should be thought of as a whole. Now people are suffering and wetland wildlife has all but disappeared. With land surplus to agricultural requirements, we now have the opportunity to recreate more natural conditions. In a year, there will be environment agencies for England and Wales and for Scotland well placed to take a holistic view. If Parliament decrees, the Environmental Bill, which is currently being discussed in the Lords, could require the agencies to carry out integrated catchment management planning. If not, the opportunity may be lost to provide a safer future for people and a better future for wetland wildlife.

Yours faithfully, T. S. SANDS Director of Conservation Wildlife Trusts Lincoln