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Flood defences: don’t forget natural solutions

Building ever-higher barriers is not the only answer

By Kerry McCarthy   May 2020

A high-volume water pump worked hard as flood defences neared collapse in Ironbridge, on the River Severn. Photo: PETER MANNING/LNP/SHUTTERSTOCK

In the winter of 2015-6, there was heavy flooding in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. In my capacity as the then shadow environment secretary, I visited those areas to talk to the people affected and saw the devastation wreaked on their homes and businesses. Many of them had also been hit by floods a few years earlier. They were told then it was a “once in a century” event. Even…

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