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Climate is changing but cost-cutting mood isn't

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

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CLIMATE change sceptics may well be having second thoughts this week, particularly in the United States, which has been a bedrock for global warming doubters.

Over there, plummeting temperatures not seen in decades have occurred, with the polar blast threatening crops and livestock across the American farm belt, even in the usually temperate Deep South.

The polar freeze was heading east yesterday, but I hope it doesn't get as far as the UK; we have had our own storms to deal with.

Across the North Cornwall coast, the awesome power of massive waves has destroyed not only property but, in the case of Porthcothan, most of a giant rock face which has stood there for who knows how long.

Unlike other parts of the country, Cornwall has escaped major flooding, apart from poor old Looe, which always gets it, although Polzeath too had its fair share of water invading properties.

But more flooding will occur in the county before too long. There is now serious flooding every year somewhere in the UK. It didn't used to be like that.

The only people who have welcomed the recent flooding, in a roundabout way, are probably the 1,500 who were facing redundancy from the Environment Agency due to government funding cuts, 500 of which would be within the agency's flood prevention and protection teams.

The Government is insisting frontline services will be secured and has promised to protect £370 million for new flood defences, despite making efficiency savings.

With the level of flooding this country has experienced in recent years, that will amount to the proverbial drop in the ocean.

Looe has been battling for a multimillion-pound flood defence scheme for years now, and nothing has really happened there to protect property.

There are other seaside towns in Cornwall which would like proper defences too. They won't get them.

The Met Office said last month was the windiest December in the UK since 1969 and the wettest since 1993, while the Environment Agency said recent storm surges were the highest since 1953.

The climate is certainly changing, but government funding cuts are not going to change any time soon.

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