I FEEL it is time to seriously explore the possibilities of reinstating the canal system to Kendal and possibly beyond to provide a large water storage and distribution provision in time of storm flooding. The immediate local ability to contain and retain large volumes of water for slow re-integration back into the watercourses is the modern way, otherwise known as catchment management. This could be achieved by holding the water behind lock gates and allowing certain canal margins to flood to create wider broads (as in Norfolk) or small lakes integrated within the canal system.

We all need to be re-educated in our approach to flooding, myself included. When I graduated, the aim was to build drainage channels/ducts and get wastewater away from your land/property as soon as possible without considering the consequences of others downstream.

Consider the average cost of a house flood insurance settlement claim is now £50,000, up from 2015 when it was £30,000 and this is for only one home; coupled with the issue that many householders can no longer afford the luxury of insurance as premiums rise in line with flood risk.

Agricultural land prices are only £3,000 to £10,000 per acre approximately. One acre alone can provide a large amount of water storage for a very low comparable cost as compared to a house being damaged. The final twist is the upside to tourism. A scheme can be attractive as well as functional with greater tourism opportunities reaching the south of Kendal to Tewitfield.

There have been discussions about extending the canal to Windermere but, by only reaching Kendal, a fantastic storm drain and storage receptacle is made and water can be gradually re-integrated back into watercourses as levels permit, using the existing canal system with new links back into the Kent, south of Kendal.

The cost of such a system offset by tourism delivers a far more sustainable cost solution to Kendal long term without the questionable and costly schemes already being proposed. And, I believe, would be more attractive than the current proposed schemes by providing a proven and traditional answer.

Trying to contain more water within the Kent in Kendal and future run-off from Kendal property development, together with wetter climates predicted, makes for only a more radical rethink and for bigger ideas to meet not just current but future flooding on a scale we may not have yet seen. Can we afford to not look at a more holistic and practical answer to a more frequently re-occurring problem?

We have the answers within our local topography; they just need unlocking as dredging rivers only gives the river the chance to redeposit in the same places and rising river levels will need ever-rising barriers. More drainage increases the speed water enters the river network, hastening flooding at peak times, and for a town traditionally established on a flood plain this could mean 50 per cent of Kendal properties may find themselves within this potential flooding zone.

It is time for leaders to rise up and invest in the viable and dry future for Kendal while creating sustainable schemes that increase local amenity and tourism.

Crispin Vyner-Brooks, BSc (Hons) Rural Land Management