Dr Ben Mayfield examines the dilemma faced by Government in their response to the protection of land that is vulnerable to flooding. He argues that once it is posited that governments have limited resources for the protection of land, informed choices must be taken as to which land is protected. He presents some of the different methods that have been used to place a value on land. He concludes by noting that whilst land can be valued in purely economic terms, it is often the less tangible, sentimental attachments to land that cause the greatest loss when a person is deprived of his or her property.
The winter floods of 2013/14 have been amongst the most severe in living memory. Sustained periods of heavy rain and strong winds saturated the soil, whilst swollen rivers burst their banks and flooded a number of lowland areas in Somerset, Norfolk, the Thames Valley and elsewhere. The loss of life has been much lower than for many disasters around the world, but many land owners have suffered substantial damage to their homes and property.