The overnight rainfall of the 29th and 30th of September caused more flooding in Cumbria. The water level of the river Gowan in Staveley (near Kendal) rose by over a metre overnight - right up to the level of the underside of the new bridge opened in May, 18 months after the old one had been closed following Storm Desmond!

This was a relatively short September rainstorm. When (not 'if') we get another Desmond the water level could easily rise by a further metre or more, thereby ensuring that all of the properties nearby along Gowan Terrace and Main Street will be flooded out - again!

While the bridge was under construction I asked one of the site engineers why the underside of the new bridge was no higher than the old one, pointing out that the water level during Desmond had been over a metre higher than that level.

He pointed out that they had widened the river and increased the single span of the new bridge to ease the 'bottleneck' caused by the old twin arch bridge. That's as maybe, but they haven't widened it a mere 20 metres downstream before the confluence with the Kent.

However, the two factors that determine the level of the Gowan are: 1) the volume of water flowing within the available depth and width of the river course, and 2) - most importantly - the level of the river Kent into which it flows 20 to 30 metres downstream of the bridge.

During Storm Desmond the large field north of the Kent was completely under water (which happens most winters). Without taking measurements, my eyes tell me that the northern banks of the Kent are around the same height as the underside of the new bridge.

The fact remains that the Gowan rose up to the level of the underside of the new bridge following a relatively short overnight rain storm after a fairly wet week.

By my reckoning, the new bridge needed to be at least 1m to 1.5m higher, or the river beds of both the Gowan and the Kent (for maybe 500m or so downstream) needed to be dredged across their width to a depth of at least a metre, maybe two.

It's not rocket science, just common sense.

John Sayer