Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by Angela C Smith MP (FL MP 07)

  Many thanks for the request for input into the terms of reference for the Flooding inquiry.

  The experience in Sheffield was devastating, of course. Many of Sheffield's watercourses are fed by rainfall from the Peak, and indeed the river Don itself has its source in the Peak. At the moment the blanket bogs of the Peak are badly degraded by pollution, over-grazing by sheep and drainage work. The net impact of this is ecological failure, with the bogs unable to hold water as they should. Consequently, this water comes down off the Peak District hills into the rivers, etc.

  It is of course true that the rainfall of early June was such that flooding was probably inevitable in Sheffield, but it is the view of many that the severity of the flooding would have been reduced if the blanket bog of the Peak had been in better condition. If you like, nature's own defences failed because of their degradation at the hand of man.

  I would like the committee to look at this issue. I know that DEFRA are co-funding work to restore the bogs with water companies such as United Utilities, now is the time I believe to press home the need to prioritize programmes such as this because of their contribution to effective water management.

  Hope this helps

Angela C Smith MP

Sheffield Hillsborough

August 2007

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