Flood plain planninghttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floodplain
I remember studying this phenomenon in geography. An evolving floodplain is a natural thing. Over time, it manages itself in many subtle ways. It also leads to thriving natural ecosystems; which evolve to benefit more from this natural process.
Drastic sudden flooding events, like Cumbria, are mainly the result of human intervention in the landscape. OUR (and by "our" I really mean all of us) decision to build extensively in areas that can flood naturally - or will flood NOW as the result of myopic water management engineering; or EU subsidised uneconomic farming practices._________________
Farming is an industry. I think we forget that. Treating it as some kind of landscape based "self improving" entertainment project.
If people built a factory, that caused catastrophic local events; leading to the factory falling down and killing the workers. Would we subsidise the industry, rebuild the factory and compensate the owners for thier losses? I think not.
Perhaps "industry" lacks the romantic credentials. People don't write poems about it, or paint the factory equivalent of "The Heywane" featuring a toxic dump.https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hay_Wain_______________
However: Farmers are running a business. They have no such illusions.
Upstream dredging (recently deregulated BTW) - Which naturally leads to drastic flooding events downstream.
Clearance of the ridgelines - Which massively accelerates the release of floodwater; whenever we get heavy rainfall events.
The destruction of evolved natural ecosystems; just to free up more farming land - Natural wetlands capture heavy rainfall; and slowly release it. They thrive on flooding events!
Expanding the use of uneconomic crops - Just to get the bigger EU farming subsidies. Which WE ALL PAY FOR through higher income taxes.
THE ABOVE - Are directly causing the "sudden flooding" events reported in Cumbria. But I don't see anyone blaming the farming industry.
Naturally - we should stop building on floodplains. Stop contributing so much to global warming. But also stop dredging out natural rivers, which destroys natural floodplanes.
Stop greedy farmers filling in the flood plain profile, to release more farming land. Turning meandering rivers into fast moving killers.
Stop the destruction of natural ridge lines and wetland ecosystems. Because that turns heavy rainfall - into the flooding disasters we have seen so often over the past twenty years.
Anyone with an O' Level Geography or Geology. Anyone who studied basic Soil mechanics as part of a degree, HND or OND (which is a huge number of people) should know most of this.
The real problem is that a decision to stop the bad practices above would harm profits for a few VERY rich farmers.
That's why it gets blocked and reports highlighting the problem get condemned and pulped. Conservative MPs represent many of these areas. Some are landowners themselves - thus often a very active part of the problem.
The events we see are often the result of bad policy and hugely expensive publicly funded engineering projects. Usually paid for by voters living in the flooded areas, drowning in ignorence. Perhaps they simply don't realise what they voted FOR and supported over the last half century.
Prepare your sandbags and dingy now.
Also see. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/dec/07/hide-evidence-storm-desmond-floods-paris-talks