Tuesday, 12 January 2016
Take A Swiss Role
The recent flooding in the UK has sparked a great deal of debate about why it has been so bad. The sight of leading politicians paddling about in their designer rubber boots burbling on about spending and doing something has been little short of pathetic.
One feature of this is the allegation that the relevant department, located next door to the National Union of Farmers, is unwilling to listen to other interests. They have tied up Elizabeth Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and those before her.
But none of this is new either in the UK or elsewhere. It might be as well that instead of arguing about what is happening in our back yard it could be useful to look at other places that have tried to address these problems. Switzerland, for example, over a period of 200 years cut down much of its forests.
The challenge of biodiversity is discussed in this article in Swiss Info which refers to the experience of the Swiss and how they go about it. Towards the end it mentions that 150 years ago the kind of flooding occurring in the valleys and flatlands forced them to deal in detail with the causes.
There must be something to learn here. The picture above is Murren in the Bernese Oberland and the place to go if you want to visit the Schiltorn, we once enjoyed a ham and egg breakfast at the top. The Eiger and the Jungfrau are near.
But it took the Swiss some time and their view is that there is a lot to be done in the future. Our problem is that the people dealing with it in the UK are not looking further than the next government reshuffle.