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What could we have done to protect against the recent floods in Britain? Were the rains here and the extreme weather in Asia caused by global warming?

By Philip Ball   September 2007

Is there a pub bore in the country who has not been shaking his head over his pint and opining, “Well, if you will build on a flood plain…”? These armchair prophets were merely parroting phrases they heard from Westminster. “Gordon Brown has to accept…” said shadow communities secretary Eric Pickles, “that if you build houses on flood plains, it increases the likelihood that people will be flooded.” But David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, countered that, “There’s simply no way we could [say]… that we can’t build any more new homes because of concerns about flood…

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