In The Media & Newsletter » Sympathy for France after floods - EU directives at fault
UKIP MEP Margot Parker has expressed her sympathy for the French after extensive flooding.
And the East Midlands MEP says the blame lies squarely at the feet of the European Union.
Margot said: "As someone who loves Europe while wanting to see an end to the EU, it is impossible to not feel sympathy for France as it is beset by terrible flooding.
"The relocation of priceless artwork from the Louvre, and its closure to the public, has become the most visible symbol of the current difficulties being experienced in Paris - so much so that the plight of German towns and villages also currently suffering from flooding has been somewhat overshadowed.
"What makes it even more difficult to watch is that it was almost certainly avoidable. Just as with the floods which devastated parts of the United Kingdom in the past few years, some level of blame must lie at the feet of the European Union and its endless accumulation of power where they really have no business interfering at all."
She said 16 years ago, the EU Commission passed a directive - the EU Water Framework Directive. This was a directive with apparently benign goals - the cleaning up of polluted industrial rivers and ecological protection of water habitats and wildlife.
However, in typical EU fashion, it went beyond a bit of protective legislation to being enormously proscriptive in what member-states can do with their own waterways. A big part of this is dredging - the practice of scraping a river bed to remove sediment, silt and other matter deposited there to deepen the river.
Margot added: "Without dredging, rivers become shallower over time, which leaves them much more likely to "burst their banks" when a period of heavy rain occurs - the river can quite literally hold less water than it used to, so it floods. Because dredging was determined as counter-productive when it came to the ecological protection of waterways, it was more or less abandoned in the UK by the Environment Agency, ever eager to use a bit of EU legislation to ditch common-sense.
"Without doubt the Environment Agency's equivalents in France and Germany will have been on a similar journey towards reluctance to engage in a basic practice of waterway management that has been followed for centuries.
"In its drive to stamp its ideology (in this case a particularly preachy strain of environmental mania common in most of the EU's mechanisms) on member-states, the EU has once again shown that no matter how good an idea appears on paper, once the true-believers (Euro-federalists or Greens) get involved it can unforeseen and devastating consequences - as the unfortunate people of France and Germany are experiencing right now."
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