I’m not entirely sure I understand how this flood re thing works – it’s either because I’m a bit thick or because these explanations don’t quite do it for me (Association British Insurers, Defra, Aviva). You’ll notice that everyone is stressing the benefits to those living in flood-prone areas – which is nice, but I live on top of a hill. I think what it means is that people who live on hills pay £10:50 each towards paying the insurance costs of flood-prone folk (see here and here and here).
Hmm! If that is right then I’m not sure how happy I am about it. First, I live on a hill because I don’t want to be flooded – it’s not exactly rocket science is it? Flood risk has changed over the years and I am always up for helping out the unfortunate but some houses have been built in daft places – and I’m less keen on paying for other people’s mistakes of judgement, because mistakes of judgement are different from misfortune.
And then, of course, there is the lack of any ‘polluter pays’ element in all this. We know that land use can exacerbate flood risk. We know that overgrazed, deforested hillsides shed water into people’s homes pretty quickly, and, likewise, we know that heavily burned, drained and deforested grouse moors (the playgrounds of the rich, shooting chicken-like birds for fun) also are good at shedding water. Did you hear the Hebden Bridge resident mention the grouse moors above her town (that’ll probably be Walshaw Moor) on yesterday’s Today programme?
So, to the extent that grouse moor management has contributed to flooding (see here and George Monbiot here), we are all paying for the human costs – all of us, the many, not the few who benefit from the grouse shooting.
So, residents of York, Leeds, and the Calder Valley, sign this e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting to reduce your own risk of flooding, and to reduce the financial cost to all of us for paying for the ongoing damage.