ONE of the more alarming features of the climate crisis is that the scale and severity of incidents such as Storm Desmond may well ultimately prove beyond our control.

We are already witnessing this in many places throughout the world, the Australian fires being a terrifying example.

Perhaps recognising this potential lack of control - despite the discomfort this idea holds for the many victims - might be a necessary step along the way. What we can absolutely do, though, is to begin to treat the landscape - our landscape - much more holistically. Here in Cumbria the wider landscape offers the possibility of vast amelioration for flooding, if we can successfully widen our thinking around this.

Engaging with our farmers is a key part of the answer. It is entirely possible to develop properly funded natural solutions in our catchment communities by investing in natural flood management, or slowing the flow. Meanwhile, it is utterly inappropriate that a mere one per cent of the escalating £75 million Kendal Flood Risk Management Scheme price tag has been allocated for slowing the flow in catchments.

Natural flood solutions have already proven themselves highly successful alternatives to hard engineering schemes in places like Belford in Northumberland, Pickering in Yorkshire and York.

It can work here too, alongside a range of interventions such as properly funded schemes for householders to ensure their property is individually protected, and water storage in existing catchment reservoirs - both of which the Environment Agency apparently disregards. (It should be noted the proposed EA options for Stock Beck in Kendal are not being disputed.)

However, hard engineering schemes elsewhere in Cumbria, in both Keswick and Cockermouth, proved useless during extreme weather events and were rebuilt higher. Is this really the best we can do?

The greater challenge of climate means that old solutions need to be consigned to history. In addition, despite the provision of EU funding for the hard engineering scheme in Kendal, it is completely unacceptable to rush any scheme through based on the Brexit timescale: act in haste, repent at leisure.

The River Kent has been given the highest level of environmental protection possible in the UK. It is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. Surely we can do better than resorting to walls and dams (take note; any mechanical means of controlling water flow is called a dam).

In whose interest is it to hand over many tens of millions of pounds to a large international civil engineering company, who will take the investment out of our area, when we could invest in our catchment and our communities? Why would we not place that funding opportunity in the hands of our farmers and land managers instead, and thus help to build far more resilient communities than the proposed concrete walls will ever provide?

Karen Lloyd