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Poison rivers may be grim legacy of flood disaster

Great Britain
Poison rivers may be grim legacy of flood disaster - Dangerous chemicals released during centuries of heavy industry could be polluting Yorkshire again after being dredged up in last summer's floods, new research reveals. Flooding will become an increasingly important issue in the years and decades to come – and only widescale change to the way we live will help mitigate the devastating impact. Floodplains need to be abandoned, new lakes created, hill farming scaled back, new homes built to the highest environmental standards and woodland regrown as Britons stop waging war with nature and allow the country to return to its natural state. And farmers need to be made "custodians of the countryside", being adequately compensated for allowing flood waters onto their land to ruin their crops in order to save towns and cities further downstream. Most pressing of all, however, could be dealing with the long-term effects of the recent floods. "The floods...scoured out the sediments to release the toxins downstream. The hope is that the sheer volume of water has diluted the impacts. However, this is not known for certain, but it is clear that very nasty chemicals have been re-released and have ended up somewhere downstream." "Society takes a risk when it over-grazes the uplands, paves over urban green space, develops in the floodplain or drains coastal wetlands. It mitigates that risk by building flood defences for the most valuable, built-upon land and tacitly accepts inevitable failure every 100 years or so." But the latest research suggests that floods which are now considered one in 200 year events, like last summer, might happen once a decade by 2080.

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