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Man Fighting Nature – Do I really want to drown all East Anglians?

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 1 February 2014

Having objected to the demands that the Money Tree bail out the spongers of the Somerset Levels I am accused of wanting to drown the inhabitants of East Anglia as well. I think that is a bit of an exaggeration, but….

Spending billions of pounds fighting nature seems pointless to me. The UK coastline is always changing. In some places coastal erosion eats away at land. In others silt is deposited and the land grows. That is God’s way, or the way of nature depending on how you look at it.

You can spend a fortune delaying the inevitable but in the end a mega storm and high tide will have its way one day.  The coast will move.  Locating houses on land that is doomed is ultimately not a good idea. Equally building new housing on flood plains is asking for trouble. Yet we continue to do just that and in both cases those living in affected homes demand that the taxpayer do something to stop nature, that the Money Tree be milked again.

Surely it is better simply to accept that nature will win in the end. If you own a house that will fall into the sea in 80 years tough luck. You can sell now with this knowledge and the economic value of that property will reflect its ultimate demise.  Equally if you live in a flood plain the economic value of your property should reflect that.

Of course Politicians do not wish to be seen as heartless so they will perennially spend other folk’s cash to build added flood fences, to bolster the sea-walls and to win support from those directly affected. The whole population thus finds itself heavily subsidizing a small minority (even of East Anglians) so that their houses can be more valuable than they really should be.

It is far better for all concerned to let market forces and the forces of nature to have their way. Incidentally this would of course reduce house prices in some places. Is that really such a bad thing?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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