Sheffield campaign calls for Nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency

Sheffield campaign calls for Nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency

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Ecological Owlthorpe started this petition to Parliamentary Ombudsman: phso.enquiries@ombudsman.org.uk

Deforestation in Ecological Owlthorpe is not the way to help with Climate Change. This will lead to more flooding downstream in Beighton and Fishlake.

 

Climate change studies, and indeed the experience of people around the world, suggest that extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall and flooding are increasing in frequency, making the question of how best to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of these on people’s lives an urgent one. Many attempts to provide solutions have taken the approach of fighting against nature which can make matters worse.

 

The ‘Ecological Owlthorpe’ project described here takes its place at a different starting point: that it is only by co-operating with nature that we can safely live with nature. Birley Woods golf course stands approximately 650ft above sea level. Sixty years ago, before the golf course was created, this was an area of mostly farmland and woodland, where children used to play and catch newts in the headwaters of the Ochre Dyke, a stream then lined by flourishing trees. The stream passes through Birley Moor at an elevated position of around 650 feet above sea level. As a result of heavy rain towards the end of 2019, and the deforestation that had taken place to make way for the golf course and the Owlthorpe housing estates, the otherwise harmless stream was turned into a downward-rushing torrent. This caused downstream rivers to flood as it joins the river Rother, overwhelming Beighton and Fishlake. On television, we watched the desperate plight of the Fishlake victims as the emergency services worked to evacuate them. And, as we have seen so often in recent years, when survivors are able to return to their homes after a flood, what they are met with is a scene of complete devastation. Many find it hard to claim compensation, and insurance premiums rise relentlessly, as insurance companies are overwhelmed with claims. Ironically, it was a previously constructed flood defence in Sheffield that contributed to the problem.

 

Sheffield is a city with a history of damage to property and also loss of life caused by flooding, for example in 2007, when the River Don flooded the Don Valley area of the city, and a 14-year-old boy was swept away in the River Sheaf. To prevent further disasters, a concrete barrier was erected which did save the east of Sheffield from the 2019 winter floods, but instead caused floodwater to be channelled downstream towards Fishlake.

 

Ecological Owlthorpe: an environmental approach In contrast to solutions of this kind, Ecological Owlthorpe promotes the preservation and conservation of upstream environments, an approach which is finding some favour in government circles. In an interview with Sophie Ridge https://youtu.be/bbYXEDczL-U in February 2020, George Eustace explained that the government’s approach to UK flood prevention would consist of an extra £4bn spending on flood defences but also in Yorkshire the creation and support of upstream nature-based solutions. In addition, as reported in a government press release on 23 January 2020, Environmental bodies set joint vision to tackle climate change - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and Natural England have jointly committed to “nature-based solutions to tackle the climate emergency”, to which Ecological Owlthorpe has the potential to make an excellent contribution.

 

Taking action As we say on our website, public opinion is a very strong tool. It is by working together that we can change hearts and minds and curb the over-development of vital green spaces, especially when mature and valuable trees are threatened with the axe. Numbers are important: politicians take notice when they feel a sufficient threat to their re-election.

 

Please sign our petition to Parliamentary Ombudsman and help save upstream nature based solutions which stop downstream flooding.

 

Kind Regards

 

Michael Meredith

 

https://www.ecological-owlthorpe.org

 

E-Mail: ecologicalowlthorpe@gmail.com

 

https://www.facebook.com/Ecological-Owlthorpe-104122878167684

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