FLOOD: Defences are unattractive

The most visible sign of Morpeth's flood defence are its riverside walls.

Friday, 22nd January 2016, 5:00 am

As a viable option, institutional looking barricades that serve to gut tourism and separate local people from a source of the appeal for living and working nearby, seem as desirable as pebbledash on an ancient stone monument.

Long-standing businesses depend on riverside tourism. Rivers, identified with tranquillity and beauty, contribute to the overall attractiveness and morale of town and village dwellers.

Perhaps I’m late with this, but wouldn’t plastic walls, sited in riverside ditches, that inflate upwards as they fill with rising flood water be a cheaper, less obtrusive option than 60s’ brutalist bulwarks?

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Likewise, for street-ends, ginnels, fences, and other openings – wouldn’t plastic walls that unfurl like fire hoses, or drop from overhead longitudinal racks to then be inflated with channelled floodwater, be more effective and practical than the Second World War blitz sandbags?

Aren’t there better ways of adapting to climate change than fortifying beauty spots like machine gun bunkers?

Just a thought, ever the grumbler.

Eric Gillespie,