Why we must put flood defences before Johnson’s vanity projects

Letters
Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Boris Johnson’s ambition to have some big ego project to memorialise him in the manner of great politicians and engineering projects of Victorian Britain would be better served by not building HS2 or indeed the barmy bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

All those billions should be invested in major flood protection projects across the country (Flood alerts at new high as storm lashes UK, 17 February).

Storms Ciara and Dennis over the past two weekends have shown the need for much-improved flood defences and river management systems, a need which will become increasingly critical as the climate emergency worsens and such events regularly occur in ever greater measure.

It is appalling to see the destruction of people’s homes, businesses and communities by flooding and storms. It is shocking to see the distress that people are suffering from the repetition of these inundations when they have barely recovered from earlier ones. Some are suffering serious and long-term mental health problems as a consequence.

The government must get its priorities right. Otherwise, by the time HS2 is completed, the communities that it will connect to in the north will be semi-permanently underwater and uninhabitable.
Paul Faupel
Somersham, Cambridgeshire

• As the UK is battered by yet another large and destructive storm and so many of us have to battle to save our homes from flooding (in many cases for the second time in a week) it is perplexing that Extinction Rebellion, the one organisation trying to raise awareness of the causes, is considered to be equivalent to a terrorist threat. In contrast, the recently elected government, which has little if any credibility in responding to the climate emergency, considers that repeating imaginary figures as to their plans for the NHS, transport infrastructure, etc is acceptable.

Maybe following all the climate catastrophes over the past weeks, there will finally be an urgent political awakening and necessary action to curtail the burning of fossil fuels. An increasing number of ordinary people are now experiencing first-hand what the alternative is. And it is bleak.
Prof Michael Symonds
Loughborough, Leicestershire

• Given that running cold water over a plate smeared with marmalade has little effect, what about using it as the filler/sealant between sandbags? May be more effective than some of the failed flood defence schemes. Pleased to report that the Bathampton Meadows floodplain on which the Tory Bath and North East Somerset council proposed to build a massive car park is doing its job – flooded.
Tim Davies
Batheaston, Somerset

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