IN RESPONSE to your Opinion article last week (Gazette, January 9, 'Nobody will forget the devastation of flooding'), I share the concerns that the multi-million pound flood defence scheme outlined for our town is likely to have devastating effects on the environment and eco-system and cause significant detrimental effect to the landscape, townscape and heritage assets of Kendal - a point that was actually made by the councillors on the planning committee who granted approval for the scheme.

In any case, to go ahead with phase one before planning permission has been granted for phases two and three seems to me to be a very high-risk strategy, in view of the South Lakeland District Council planning application report clearly stating that unforeseen issues may cause the additional phases to founder and be refused permission, so no guarantees of completion can be made.

Surely a full review of the scheme should be carried out before rushing ahead with a single phase of what may turn out to be an incomplete scheme?

There is also evidence the hard engineering works of phase one alone may actually create problems in the event of high rainfall, by potentially damaging our historic bridges and putting other homes at new risk of flooding.

The councillors who have given permission for this scheme to go ahead are obviously not experts in flood management and are trusting that the Environment Agency has come up with the best proposal for our town.

But, sadly, experts can and do get things wrong. Only last week the BBC news reported that the recent devastating floods in Fishlake were largely caused by flood defence systems (costing £83 million) put in place to defend businesses and premises in Sheffield, which then created problems elsewhere by moving water faster downstream.

Please let's be quite sure we are not going to make a similar expensive mistake by submitting these plans to further revision, and considering whether more appropriate and effective defences could both meet the needs of our very special town and not run the risk of creating future damage elsewhere.

On a related point, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I heard a council official had insisted the harmless colourful bunting put up to celebrate and decorate our beloved riverside trees must be removed on the grounds it was "in contravention of planning rules designed to protect the conservation area".

Perhaps they should ask themselves if giving permission for the same beautiful mature trees to be chopped down might not be the best way of protecting a conservation area? You couldn't make it up.

Kay Cook