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Simplifying Your Garden Causes Floods!

Celebrity gardeners blamed for making floods worse by encouraging decking and patios

Television gardeners have been blamed for making the recent spate of floods worse by encouraging people to rip up lawns and replace them with decking and patios.

Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock and Diarmuid Gavin taught people how to ‘simplify’ their gardens in ‘makeover’ programmes like Ground Force that ran from 1997 to 2005.

Following this trend, the number of gardens covered in concrete increased to almost half.

New satellite pictures show the proportion of gardens in towns and cities in England that have been paved over increased from 28 per cent to 48 per cent between 2001 and 2011.

Lord Krebs, the Government’s top adviser on climate change and flooding, suggested celebrity gardeners were to blame.

Rather than allowing water to soak into the soil, like a traditional lawn, hard surfaces cause water to run-off and build up in valleys and roads.

“We need TV gardeners to tell people not to put down patios and decking and have a lawn instead,” he said.

Lord Krebs, head of adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change, said extreme weather like the recent floods will become more frequent in future because of climate change.

But he said the Government is failing to put enough money into flood defence to protect homes.

He said more than 600,000 properties will be at significant risk of flooding by 2035 without action, four times more than if there was increased investment in flood defences and more careful planning of new housing in the flood plain.

Already more than 200,000 properties have been built in the flood plain between 2001 and 2011, of which 40,000 are at significant risk of flooding because they are not protected by flood defences.

Lord Krebs said the Government need to spend another £1bn to protect homes over the next five years alone and even more in future – unless they can persuade the private sector or hard-pressed local authorities to provide the cash.

He also said planning regulations to ensure development on flood plains are well protected need to be more strictly implemented.


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