Flash flooding mob puts oar in on climate change

Ben Haydon pushes his children Acer, five and Evie, eight, in a kayak along Abingdon Road, Oxford. Picture  OX65213  Damian Halliwell

Ben Haydon pushes his children Acer, five and Evie, eight, in a kayak along Abingdon Road, Oxford. Picture OX65213 Damian Halliwell Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

RUSH hour cars were replaced by rowing boats in Oxford’s flooded Abingdon Road yesterday, as people staged a flotilla to demand a discussion about climate change.

The flash flooding mob that congregated outside the Duke of Monmouth pub had been organised by resident Jamie Clarke, who is also executive director of the Cowley-based climate change organisation Climate Outreach and Information Network (COIN).

Mr Clarke, 38, who lives on a narrowboat in Weirs Lane, explained: “The gathering is simply local people simply asking: ‘Why, when flooding is all over the news, isn't the issue of climate change too?’”

The father-of-two, whose children attend the local St Ebbe’s Primary, added: “While meeting and chatting, and even standing at the school gates of St Ebbe’s with other parents, people are asking why we are continually reacting to flooding, instead of talking about ways to prevent it – we wanted to voice that concern so we decided to use the floodwater to do it.”

Mr Clarke founded COIN in 2004 to spread the word about the effects of climate change.He continued: “Of course while no one extreme weather event can directly be linked to climate change, the patterns we are experiencing of more and worse severe weather certainly are.

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“We must start talking about the wider issues and we are hoping this gets people talking.”

Other residents taking to the water in protest were the Young family, Fiona, 44, her husband Leo, 42, and children Rosie, 10, Callum, eight and Fin, four, from Friars Wharf.

Mrs Young said: “We were very keen to join in as we are extremely concerned about the effects of climate change and we want the Government and the international community to start addressing it.

“We have been lucky to avoid flooding where we live, but we have friends who have been affected over and over.”

Award-winning author and Green Party member Mark Lynas, from Wolvercote, said: “The evidence linking climate change to heavy rainfall and flooding such as we are experiencing now in the south of England, gets stronger all the time.

“Now is the time for people to speak out. We need to support communities affected by flooding, and at the same time we need to mitigate future climate change by adopting low-carbon energy sources.”

thisisoxfordshire:

Mark Lynas

Peter Rawcliffe, of the Oxford Flood Alliance said: “While I don’t want to rubbish the issue of climate change, it could be years before people start taking real action and many more before effects are seen. What we need now are measures which are going to have immediate effect, and that is why the Oxford Flood Alliance is putting all its focus and efforts into campaigning for a Western Conveyance.”

The £123m river channel would divert water away from Oxford and stop it flooding across the city.

Comments (4)

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11:25am Tue 11 Feb 14

mytaxes says...

Idiots
Idiots mytaxes
  • Score: 1

12:15pm Tue 11 Feb 14

EMBOX2 says...

The only time climate change will be taken seriously is when either the City of London or lower Manhatten is underwater.
The only time climate change will be taken seriously is when either the City of London or lower Manhatten is underwater. EMBOX2
  • Score: -2

1:59pm Tue 11 Feb 14

onemorething says...

Arguing about the symptoms (more frequent floods), and continuing to feed the causes (burning more and more fossil fuels) - that is the real idiocy. Only trolls, cynics and the 'too-scared-to-think
' brigade can pretend it isn't happening: Climate Change scientists' predictions of more extreme weather events are coming true.
Arguing about the symptoms (more frequent floods), and continuing to feed the causes (burning more and more fossil fuels) - that is the real idiocy. Only trolls, cynics and the 'too-scared-to-think ' brigade can pretend it isn't happening: Climate Change scientists' predictions of more extreme weather events are coming true. onemorething
  • Score: -2

4:25pm Tue 11 Feb 14

mjdmorton says...

In the face of climate change addressing increased instances of flooding needs to done in a joined up fashion. As George Monbiot and Jonathon Porritt explained in recent articles the dominant 'cause' of flooding is mismanagement of the agricultural landscape. There is a chain of causes. Locally flash flooding is caused by too much tar mac and high density housing, paving over front gardens and the slow take up of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems). This exacerbates the main issue which is huge quantities of field run-off bottle-necking under bridges and urban areas. And the increased frequency and magnitude of heavy rains can be linked to climate change.
Locally we need urban drainage and storage systems to hold back flash flooding. Regionally we need a total rethink on farming: more trees, better soil care with more compost and manure and less chemical fertility. A woodland absorbs 60 times more rain than a ploughed field. Globally we need to reduce emissions and increase photosynthesis and other carbon capture . Oxford should think twice before diverting a precious resource downstream. Hold the water in the hills, small reservoirs and large water butts
In the face of climate change addressing increased instances of flooding needs to done in a joined up fashion. As George Monbiot and Jonathon Porritt explained in recent articles the dominant 'cause' of flooding is mismanagement of the agricultural landscape. There is a chain of causes. Locally flash flooding is caused by too much tar mac and high density housing, paving over front gardens and the slow take up of SUDS (sustainable urban drainage systems). This exacerbates the main issue which is huge quantities of field run-off bottle-necking under bridges and urban areas. And the increased frequency and magnitude of heavy rains can be linked to climate change. Locally we need urban drainage and storage systems to hold back flash flooding. Regionally we need a total rethink on farming: more trees, better soil care with more compost and manure and less chemical fertility. A woodland absorbs 60 times more rain than a ploughed field. Globally we need to reduce emissions and increase photosynthesis and other carbon capture . Oxford should think twice before diverting a precious resource downstream. Hold the water in the hills, small reservoirs and large water butts mjdmorton
  • Score: 5

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