You may have noticed, but it has been a bit wet for the past few days. Living, as I do, very close to Hall Farm and the river Loddon I am used to seeing Shinfield live up to the origin of its name: Shining Fields. Have a look at this flood warning map, live at the time of writing.
It has not even been particularly heavy rain, yet the flood warning covers much of the Loddon Valley at Shinfield. This is where Wokingham Borough Council want to put a hospital and 4,500 houses.
Also note the Bear Wood Lake. This has recently been upgraded to a Category A reservoir, as in, "serious risk to life" if it should overflow.
Now consider the "extreme" weather events we have witnessed across the world as part of Global Warming. Hotter air holds more moisture meaning more likelihood of sudden downpours.
The report linked to above is from 2014 but is written from a local perspective, and the conclusion is: Risk of flooding set to rise.
"While individual storms or successions of storms cannot be linked directly to climate change, there are some aspects of a warming climate that are relatively well understood and have implications for the severity of impacts we suffer.
As temperatures rise, basic physics dictates an increase in the amount of atmospheric moisture, which is the fuel for heavy rainfall events. That means whenever we have heavy (and prolonged) rainfall events in the future, we can expect them to be more intense – along with the risk of flooding"
Not only will building here be at increasing risk of flooding due to the changes wrought by climate change, but by taking away the natural absorbency of the fields, and removing the soil protection of the trees and hedgerows the long term effects of that flooding will continue to get worse.
Then, on top of the existing flood risk, there are other water supply and waste water removal problems associated with this site. 4,500 houses, never mind a relocated Royal Berkshire Hospital is a huge amount of clean water in, and dirty water out. I, like many others who live around Hall Farm do not have the luxury of mains sewage. Without getting indelicate, I manage my sewage through a septic tank and regular pump outs. (Once upon a time I lived on a house boat, and the problem there is even more immediate, requiring a weekly trip to empty the waste. Trust me, I know what I am talking about here!).
Not to put too fine a point on it, where is the waste from all these toilets flushing and dishwashers emptying supposed to go? If this "Garden Village" is not to drown in its own waste products it will require its own sewage works, so why is this not shown on any of the master-planning maps?
Not only that, but to return to the flood risks, I find it all the more incredible that the report quoted from above was written by Professor Richard Allen, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Reading, and University of Reading are the very people who want to sell this land for development.
Inconvenient truths perhaps?