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Flooding (Land Drainage Schemes)

Volume 436: debated on Tuesday 15 April 1947

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asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will investigate allegations that the land drainage and ditching schemes, carried out with Government aid during the past seven years, seriously aggravated the flooding of the Trent, the Ouse and other main rivers; and if he will make a statement.

Full evidence is being collected from all catchment areas so that the lessons to be learnt from the floods can be comprehensively studied. Opinions differ regarding the effects on the flow of water of the clearance of ditches and upland watercourses, which was, of course, fully justified by the needs of wartime food production; but the frozen and waterlogged condition of the land when the recent thaw occurred, coupled with the volume of water to be discharged, would have caused an exceptional run-off irrespective of the condition of the upland watercourses.