Here is a list of 139 papers ( 6,857 pages ) that I have found while trolling the internet looking for the causes of flooding. All written since 1996.
I think the sheer amount of paperwork is the biggest cause of all.
This list is by no means complete but I cannot be bothered looking any further, I give in.
On top of this there are more rules on Procurement, EU Habitat Directive, insurance, council requirements, application forms, permissions, waste, academic studies, EU Water Framework Directive, PPGs, PPSs, RSPB, EA dredging rules, etc.
Also every river basin in Europe will soon have itís own Integrated Catchment Strategy, River Basin Management Strategy, Flood Risk Assessment Plan, and many more.
Most of these will have Scoped, Preliminary and Final reports.
Also every town or city that has flooded will have itís own set of reports.
I have not included the 1,707 page Pitt Report - it says very little about work in rivers - it is all about what should be done instead of what will be done.
Any company wishing to do any work for the Environment Agency has to conform to this list - legally in many cases - or you may find yourself in court. Anyone doing small clearance work as used to be before 1996 just will not read all this bumph and will not risk any court proceedings from something they have missed. If the small maintenance jobs are not done then the rivers get blocked until another £multi-million scheme is devised, planned, approved, financed, tendered for, studied, health and safetied and finally the work done - often all it needed was maintenance over the years.
The list of reports below is not complete, I have written the titles in English, I donít think there are any duplicates but it is the sheer quantity that is remarkable - all written by expensive consultants or academics, does anybody actually read them ?
Most of these reports, directives, studies are required directly or indirectly by the EU.
This paper trail appears to have started with the Berne Convention signed in 1979. This was then adopted by the EU in 1992. The EA was created in 1996 to apply these rules in the UK.
I suppose it creates work for many academics to write and read but perhaps the farmers and workers on the ground could make a better job of preventing flooding, protecting flora and fauna, etc