The Ecologist


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Reduce flood-risk through rewilding, says new report from Rewilding Britain

Rewilding Britain

21st September, 2016

A new report from Rewilding Britain highlights the positive impact which rewilding the UK's landscapes can have upon flood risk. The report comes as MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee consult on better ways to manage the UK's environment post-Brexit, with many calling for an approach which places nature centre stage. more...
Beaver in the Highland Wildlife Park, Scotland. Photo: Dunnock_D via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Beavers and the coming revolution in Scotland's countryside

Louise Ramsay

8th March 2016

After beavers' reintroduction to Scotland, landowners have accused the native rodents of damaging the environment, causing floods, and worse, writes Louise Ramsay. But the public have rallied to the cause of these charming, beneficial creatures, leaving conservative landowners isolated. Could the shift in sentiment trigger long overdue change in the Scottish countryside? more...
A Palestinian rides his trike through a flooded street following the heavy storms of 2013. Photo: AFP PHOTO  / MOHAMMED ABED via Flickr / Globovisión (CC BY-NC)

As flooding in Gaza worsens, the most basic of human rights are under threat

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

9th February 2016

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has worsened after floods and purposeful destruction has taken its toll in recent months, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The eight year blockade by Israel and conflict with Egypt has already hit Palestinian families hard but now Gaza is at even greater risk as Egypt diverts seawater into life-line tunnels. more...
Flooded, embanked tributary of the River Eden in Cumbria. Image from a small unmanned aerial vehicle. Photo: Neil Entwistle @salfordhydro .

Changes to our rivers and floodplains have exacerbated flooding

Neil Entwistle & George Heritage

12th January 2016

Changes to natural drainage processes in headwaters, rivers, floodplains and river channels has increased the UK's vulnerability to heavy rainfall, write Neil Entwistle & George Heritage. And to put things right, we must first gather the detailed evidence of what took place in recent floods. The Environment Agency must publish all its data, maps and images - now! more...
A farmer at work on his tractor amid oilseed rape (canola) in Oakwood, Derbyshire, England. Photo: John Bennett via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To control flood - and drought - we must involve farmers

Colin Tudge

2nd January 2015

Building resilience to flood and drought is all about working with farmers, writes Colin Tudge. Simple things like ploughing across slopes, not up and down them, planting trees, and caring for soils, can make a huge difference in helping rainwater to sink into the ground, not run off. And to make it happen, the government must take a lead. more...
Pre-1988 dumping of low and intermediate level nuclear waste at the Drigg site in Cumbria. Photo: via EA (2005).

Cumbria flooding: Environment Agency issues alert on Drigg nuclear waste site

Marianne Birkby

31st December 2015

Following this month's intense rainfall in the north of England an Environment Agency alert has highlighted the flood risk to the crumbling nuclear waste dump adjoining Sellafield in Cumbria, writes Marianne Birkby - a dump which remains in use despite its condemnation by the EA in 2005 due to its likely destruction by rising seas. Now it really is time to close the gate on Drigg! more...
A beaver pond in Bamff, Scotland. Photo: Paul Ramsay /

Time to bring back Nature's flood management engineer - the beaver

Louise Ramsay

30th December 2015

As climate change brings more rain, Britain is suffering from the extinction here of our native flood engineer - the beaver. Louise Ramsay says it's high time to re-introduce these charismatic rodents all over Britain. more...
Medway floods 2014 - just the place for a new London overflow commuter town. Photo: A Walk Around Britain via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Government planning thousands of new homes for flood zones

Maeve McClenaghan / Greenpeace Energydesk

8th January 2015

9,000 new homes in the 'fast track' housing development zones created by the UK government are in areas of flood risk, making them potentially uninhabitable and uninsurable, according to a Greenpeace investigation - and that's before accounting for the increased flood risk from by climate change. Meanwhile future levels of funding for flood control are looking highly uncertain. more...
January-October 2014 average air temperature anomalies over land and sea surface temperature anomalies over the oceans (relative to the 1961-1990 average) from the HadCRUT. data set. Image: WMO.

WMO: 2014 set to be the hottest year on record

The Ecologist

3rd December 2014

The year 2014 is on track to be one of the hottest, if not the hottest, on record, according to preliminary estimates by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Their latest report, issued today at the UN climate talks in Lima, shows exceptional heat and flooding in many parts of the world. more...
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency has declared an Emergency in Gaza City, following extreme weather and severe flooding. Photo: UNWRA.

Flood 'emergency' strikes Gaza City

The Ecologist

29th November 2014

Following Israel's destruction of much of Gaza's civilian infrastructure in Israel's summer 2014 attacks, the territory's drainage systems have been unable to cope with heavy rains, and the UN has declared a state of emergency in Gaza City. more...
ITV interviews a victim of the flooded Severn in 2007. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Open Democracy.

We shall defend our island - if the cost-benefit analysis stacks up

Guy Shrubsole

16th November 2014

Such is the Government's neglect of our flood defences, revealed by a National Audit Office report, that they are failing to even keep pace with climate change, writes Guy Shrubsole. That alone is a national disgrace - but most shameful is that current expenditures mostly benefit the wealthy, while poor communities are neglected. more...
Smoke from Russian forest fires obscures the Sun in 2010. Photo: Ximonic, Simo Räsänen via Wikimedia Commons.

Climate inaction could cost Europe 200,000 lives a year

Tim Radford

16th July 2014

A failure to act to reduce the impacts of climate change could cost Europe almost €200 billion and 200,000 lives a year, writes Tim Radford. These 'conservative estimates' are published in a new European Commission study. more...

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Owen Paterson MP with Joe & Sephs Gourmet Popcorn. The 'Mad Dog' sign refers to a brand of lemonade. Photo: UKTI via Flickr.

Owen Paterson sacked: the end of 'badger bashing'?

Lesley Docksey

15th July 2014

Owen Paterson's departure from Government could see the end of the hated badger culls and a wider return to environmental sanity, writes Lesley Docksey. Given his disbelief in climate change and his arrogant disregard of science, it's not a moment too soon! more...
Wild beavers caught on film in the River Otter, Devon, by Tom Buckley. Photo via BBC News and Youtube.

Let England's wild beavers be!

Oliver Tickell

1st July 2014

A family of wild of beavers has established on an English river for the first time since Henry VIII. But now the Government has decided to trap them and consign them to captivity in a zoo or wildlife centre. Defenders of wilderness are now demanding: keep our wild beavers free! more...
We can expect more of this: a thunderstorm rises over the Norfolk countryside. Photo: Nick Ford via Flickr.

Our future summers - thunderstorms and flash floods

Elizabeth Kendon & Prof Hayley J. Fowler

8th June 2014

We can expect British summers to get drier as climate warms - but there is a catch. When it rains, it's more likely to come down in 'tropical downpours - causing devastating flash floods that overwhelm street drainage, streams and rivers. more...
A badger struggles to avoid drowning in the flooded river Saale, 2011. Photo: Margrit via

Cull could put flood-struck badgers 'at risk of local extinction'

The Ecologist

2nd June 2014

Following last winter's severe flooding in SW England, the Government has refused to assess how badly badgers suffered - even though local populations could have crashed. If the cull goes ahead, badgers could be wiped out of some areas altogether. more...
Photo taken by Rastko’s friend Marko Ristic /

Hundred-year Balkan floods: a report from the ground

Rastko Šejić /

29th May 2014

Apocalyptic floods have hit the Balkans, causing many deaths and billions of dollars of damage. campaigner Rastko Šejić from Obrenovac, Serbia, wrote this personal account of the floods - and how they have at least served to re-unite divided communities. more...
Can we talk about climate change now? Flooded Oxford residents take to the streets. Among their problems, sewage contamination of flood waters and non-flushing toilets. Photo: Adam Ramsay.

UK winter floods - more to come with hotter oceans

Simon Redfern

4th May 2014

A massive citizen-powered climate simulation conclusively links the UK's winter floods to global warming, writes Simon Redfern. Over 33,000 climate models running in 'screen saver' mode show a powerful connection between hotter oceans and UK rainfall. more...
Kate and Flo knee deep in The Quaggy. Photo: Jon Nicholls (fotologic) via

New life for our lost urban rivers!

Jenny Jones

24th March 2014

Cities all over Britain are threaded by 'lost rivers' that have been hidden away in tunnels and culverts. Jenny Jones argues that it's time to restore them to a more natural state - improving habitats for wildlife and people, and reducing flood risk. more...
Early stages of Holistic Planned Grazing with Dexter cattle awaiting their daily move at Haye Farm, Worcestershire. Photo: Stuart Norgrove.

The omni-benefits of regenerative pasture

Natasha Giddings

21st March 2014

Managing grasslands in a way that mimics natural grazing by wild animals improves water infiltration, reduces erosion, conserves nutrients, reduces costs, raises production and increases profits, writes Natasha Giddings. Why isn't everyone doing it? more...
Cameron to the rescue: the politicisation of the UK's 2014 floods has not been conducive to enlightening discourse. Photo: The Prime Minister's Office via

The floods - blaming the climate change messengers

George Marshall

6th March 2014

Mainstream media reporting of the recent UK storms rapidly degenerated into narratives of blame focused on environmentalists, writes George Marshall. It's time they uncovered the real villains! more...
Trees and hedgerows mean less run-off and erosion, reducing flooding and siltation downstream. Photo: Coed Cymru - .

Woods and trees are functioning parts of a living landscape

Mike Townsend

6th March 2014

Trees, woodlands and hedgerows do much more than enhance the appearance of Britain's rural landscapes, writes Mike Townsend. They diminish flooding, reduce erosion, assist water infiltration, enhance biodiversity - and we need more of them! more...
Maidenhead floods. Photo: poppy via

Open letter: water management in England and Wales

Sue Illman and others

21st February 2014

England has just experienced the wettest winter on record leading to widespread flooding - and a shambolic response from Government. Professional bodies have come together to offer this valuable advice ... more...
Can we talk about climate change now? Flooded Oxford residents take to the streets. Among their problems, sewage contamination of flood waters and non-flushing toilets. Photo: Adam Ramsay.

After the deluge - Britain's new politics of climate change

Jonathon Porritt

20th February 2014

Floods, giant waves and billions of pounds of destruction to the UK's homes, businesses and key national infrastructure could revolutionise climate politics, writes Jonathon Porritt. But no thanks to the increasingly pathetic BBC! more...
Dunedin Highland Games. This picture really did come up on a creative commons image search for Owen Paterson. Photo: theSuperStar via

Owen Paterson - the invisible Minister

Lesley Docksey

18th February 2014

Storms, floods, tidal surges, a failed badger cull, GMO controversies ... then Owen Paterson, widely considered the worst Environment Secretary we have ever had, vanished. Lesley Docksey wonders - will he ever return? more...


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