Julian Bray writes: The above truly astonishing background note was given to BBC Radio Surrey and clearly the extra runway lobby will be furious. This is something not to be broadcast in the public domain...hopefully a PR mans head will roll, or knighted, depending on your political outlook.
For the first time, it is now confirmed that in Heathrow effectively compressing the water table under acres of concrete, it will create an additional flood risk in areas not previously prone to flooding. In short the Environment Agency will have to re-calculate its flood maps for the entire region effectively blighting a whole new range of properties, farms, estates and smallholdings placing others at a new risk of flooding. Especially as Parliament just yesterday (January 26th) has now given the green light to FRACKING!!! Simply once insurable properties in prime locations will see premiums rocket to eye-watering proportions...
This is how it works. According to the background note Heathrow as part of the expansion programme will look at the flood footprint many miles away from the airport. The focus will be on the Colne and Wraysbury Rivers but will take in all perceived flood threats to Heathrow. The only way Heathrow can ensure its own plot remains flood free is to divert or contain the floodwater elsewhere.
By targeting the Colne and Wraysbury, they effectively have two options create new flood fields or plains by buying up strategic farmland with the intention that it should take the flood water , and as they put it " [buy up] land for balancing reservoirs to attenuate water" ie create huge new lakes many miles away from Heathrow possibly floodwaterpumps all along the rivers Colne and Wraysbury and possibly enlarge storm drains, put in new floodwater pumping stations to carry the water a long way from Heathrow to " additional flood storage." Realistically "additional flood storage" is a series of man made lakes or simply releasing the pumped water into flood fields or outflowing into other waterways not currently associated with a flood risk, thus creating 'new at risk but possibly lower value damage flood containment zones'.
The problem with water is that you can move it, but you cannot ever compress it. Water will always find its own level somewhere. The more you bear down on the overall water table, the greater is the flooding problem in adjoining areas. That creates a ripple effect so the flood risk area spreads.
The final line suggests providing investment for local flood defences. The Conservatives have consistently hacked away at the flood defence budget and it would take the whole proposed £16 billion investment just to get back to where we were 10 years ago. Simply Heathrow have now belatedly flagged up the enormity of the flood risk that faces the population within a 100 mile radius of London Heathrow. Simply if you own property in areas adjoining known flood risk areas, the combination of fracking and Heathrow robustly dealing with any additional flood risk problem caused by its runway expansion programme; then seriously consider selling - do it quickly...
So well done BBC local newsrooms, a truly mega exclusive for BBC Radio Surrey in particular, news on tap as it were.....and a suitably fluid response!
JULIAN BRAY ++44(0)1733 345581, Journalist, Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Operations, Travel / Cruise Industry Expert, EQUITY, NUJ, Broadcast ISDN ++44 (0)1733 345020 (DUAL CODEC) SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe