Alan Titchmarsh says paving over gardens isn’t causing floods!!!
Don’t blame me! Alan Titchmarsh says paving over gardens isn’t causing floods as climate change lobby turns up the volume
- Government adviser warns paved gardens are less able to absorb water
- Lord Krebs criticised TV gardeners for encouraging growth of patios
- Alan Titchmarsh insists stars are not responsible for flooding crisis and blames official policies instead
- Climate change campaigners point to global warming as cause of floods
Alan Titchmarsh has insisted that TV gardeners like him were not responsible for causing floods by encouraging homeowners to pave over their gardeners.
A Government adviser had previously suggested that gardening trends had worsened the flooding crisis by reducing the ability of the ground to absorb rainwater.
The row comes as climate change activists step up their campaign to pin the cause of the floods which have ravaged Britain on global warming.
Not guilty: Alan Titchmarsh says that TV gardeners have not been causing floods by encouraging householders to pave over their gardens
Claims: Lord Kerns, left, has suggesting that gardening programmes exacerbate flood risks, while Lord Stern, right, pins the blame on global warming
Lord Stern, the author of a controversial official report on climate change, insisted that rainfall was becoming ‘ever more intense’ and called for action to prevent ‘devastating consequences’ such as global conflict.
Thousands of homes have been flooded in the Somerset Levels and the Thames Valley after two months of rain has left rivers swollen and the ground saturated.
And while most people have blamed inadequate preparation from the Environment Agency and the unprecedented levels of rainfall, a leading scientist has proposed an alternative explanation.
Lord Krebs, the head of Jesus College, Oxford and a Government adviser on climate change, blamed TV gardening shows for starting a trend of paving over gardens with concrete driveways, decking and patios.
These renovations can worsen storms by preventing water seeping into the ground, forcing it to run off elsewhere, he said.
Disaster: The village of Moorland in the Somerset Levels has been left almost completely underwater
‘We need TV gardeners to tell people not to put down patios and decking and have a lawn instead,’ Lord Krebs said in a recent report on the future of flood risks.
‘Flooding can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and livelihoods. How we adapt to these risks will be critically important to our future resilience, whether it’s deciding not to pave over our gardens, or building in less exposed areas.’
He said there should be a campaign to ‘get TV gardeners to tell people to stop putting down decking and paving and have lawns instead’.
But Mr Titchmarsh, who became Britain’s best-known gardener during six years of presenting Gardeners’ World, insisted that TV personalities like him were not to blame.
Drenched: Worcester is also heavily affected by flooding after the River Severn burst its banks
‘TV gardeners do not advocate paving over entire gardens, simply a small area in which to sit,’ he told the Daily Star.
Describing Lord Krebs’s claim as ‘laughable’, Mr Titchmarsh instead pinned responsibility on the Government for failing to maintain waterways properly.
‘The neglect of ditch clearing and dredging water courses has a far greater impact on surface water than the Government seems to acknowledge,’ he said.
The controversy coincides with a new push to link the floods to the impact of climate change.
David Cameron said last month that he ‘very much suspects’ that the recent weeks of extreme weather can be pinned on global warming.
Lord Stern, the author of a major report on the economic effects of climate change, today claimed that the wet and stormy conditions were ‘no coincidence’.
Waders: A man makes his way through the floodwater at Runnymede, next to the Thames
Writing in the Guardian, he said: ‘If we do not cut emissions, we face even more devastating consequences.’
The economist claimed that global climate change could lead to ‘mass migration of hundreds of millions of people away from the worst-affected areas’.
He concluded: ‘That would lead to conflict and war, not peace and prosperity.’
UN envoy Margareta Wahlstrom said that global warming was a ‘driver of disaster’ and claimed the Government should have stepped in decades ago.
‘The science has been clear that climate variability is a driver of disaster for 40, 50 years,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘The science has been clear for decades already. We should have acted 10, 20 years ago.’
The Swedish disaster expert, who is the secretary general’s special representative for disaster risk reduction, called on officials to reduce building on flood plains in order to reduce the number of people affected in the event of flooding.
Officials responsible for maintaining the Somerset Levels have warned that it may be necessary to move residents away from the low-lying area over the next few decades if rising sea levels make it more vulnerable.