Communities across Britain, particularly in the North of England ,are again suffering from the effects of flooding. In Surrey where I live and work, flooding is in the news after a very wet winter, although so far we haven’t seen a repeat of the disastrous floods of 2013/14 which caused much distress to and damage to property particularly on the Wey at Shepperton and the Mole at Dorking and Cobham.

There are many mixed messages surrounding the efficacy of different approaches to flooding. Calls for dredging of rivers to increase the capacity of rivers appear to hold more sway with policy makes than more  catchment-based approaches including natural flood management and land management interventions. The government assures us that money is being spent to alleviate the problem but is the money being spent wisely and with the best advice?

In this  vacuum of leadership, local communities are making up their own minds and drawing conclusions for themselves. Residents of Horley have made these YouTube posts that combine humour with a very serious message: why are their still development proposals put forward for land in the flood plain?

Flooding in Horley 1

Flooding in Horley 2

Local authorities are hard pressed to stimulate local economies and build new housing but until the impacts of flooding are incorporated into economic models, lack of  joined up decision making will no doubt continue to yield proposals that make no sense to flood-hit communities,  There will be much more on Rivers in this blog. My work with Surrey Wildlife Trust centres around the delivery of projects for the Catchment Partnerships we host- the River Mole Catchment Partnership and Wey Landscape Partnership. These were set up in 2012 to address ecological and chemical status of Rivers but,  recognising that issues surrounding water in the environment are naturally interconnected,  we are beginning to make connections with  Flood Forums across Surrey.

It’s an area where the primary focus of this blog, the importance of connectivity, can be seen through the  interactions between rivers and the communities-human or otherwise-that live along them.