ENVIRONMENT Agency flood defence proposals for Kendal and outlying areas have been rolled out for public inspection.

These proposals, if approved, will provide some future flood protection for Kendal but they will come at a heavy and unnecessary environmental, emotional and economic cost. Their implementation will require 700-880 mature trees to be potentially felled along our riverside.

Strength of feeling against such environmental vandalism is naturally considerable. No-one is against flood defence improvements per se, but designs which are flawed in the first place and which are being pushed through to meet a grant deadline should not be approved.

People and groups are asking: Why has the EA spent three years devising a plan which does not begin with upstream management? It has done the complete opposite – downstream management.

And as part of DM, it proposes to fell the environment itself - trees - as the means to implement concrete flood walls or wall footings.

Business, civic, public, historic, national and environmental groups are asking: why is the cart before the horse? Why have downstream measures been devised (drastic, irreversible and with major long-term negative impacts) before the implementation of upstream river management schemes – effectively putting the Kent/Mint/Sprint on a diet?

Once on ‘diets’ flood capacity would be reduced. Kendal would then be in a better position to be ‘measured up’ for a tailor-made flood defence ‘suit’.

In the meantime less-drastic interim FD measures (resistant measures; gates, doors, wall, banks for homes and businesses) could be robustly explored and installed to complement upstream schemes. The number, size and scale of ugly and invasive concrete FD walls would be reduced.

Local knowledge and common sense is ignored and rode rough-shod over.

Local farmers say ancient irrigation ditches which used to effectively manage flooding along the Kent, Mint and Sprint upstream have been long abandoned but could be re-instated.

Old sluice-gates on reservoirs which used to take overflow could be re-instated.

Ancient ways could then work in perfect partnership with highly scientific modern river management schemes to significantly reduce upstream water and prevent/hamper flooding by planting specialised shrubs and grasses and trees.

We need our rivers put on diets upstream. Once the girth of our river capacities is reduced from XL to Medium, then and only then measure Kendal and outlying villages for tailor-made FD suits.

Let the horse drive the cart!

Jennifer Perry