resizedimage350262-diggerAs we all know, our fair country has been battered by flood waters in recent years.
At the end of 2013 and into 2014, the South West of England suffered at the hands
of raging flood waters. The conditions left villages and towns cut off. At one point, all
the rail routes linking Cornwall and Devon with the rest of the country were cut.

Despite these problems, residents have continued to defend their homes from floods; water
won’t stop us hardy Brits. And if you’re worried you can do the same with some low-cost machinery.
We deal with the various preventions and cures of flooding.

Stopping the Flood Waters with Clay Walls

As many of you would have seen on the news an ingenious man built an enormous clay wall around his
to defend against flood waters. It worked for a long time. News pictures showed his country
home as a tiny little island in the middle of vast swathes of flood water.

To do this, he used a mini excavator to dig out a small area for the wall and to throw the clay in. Clay absorbs water and can expand,
which made it the ideal material. Of course, it has limits, but it allowed his home to last for longer and almost became a beacon of hope
for all of us still battling the flood waters.

Basic Soil Defence

Another option is to use plain old soil. Soil will absorb water, to an extent. It’s why we don’t always have flooding throughout the year. The
ground swallows much of the water up. Flooding happens when it reaches capacity.

We’ve all heard of using sandbags, but pouring extra soil down as an extra defensive layer can do much to slow the waters.

Large amounts of soil can be transported with a straight tip dumper. Pour the soil into the back of it using an excavator or digger and dump
it wherever you need it to be.

This is a job you can do by hand, but it’s far less productive. When the flood waters are only hours away, speed is of the essence.


Dredging has been the traditional option for preventing flooding. The use of dredging would remove the silt and debris from the uppermost
layer of riverbeds.

  • Why would this work?

Simple. Clogged rivers can support less water. Deeper rivers carry more water. People in Somerset claim that they’d frequently campaigned
for river dredging, but the government cuts stopped this from happening.

Dredging can be performed with a range of different vehicles. There are vessels and large cranes to support large-scale dredging, but this
isn’t viable in many areas of the country. In a significant number of areas, flooding happens in areas with small channels, rather than huge

A simple digger can be used to dredge a river using a special attachment. The primary benefit of being able to use a digger is many farmers
already have them. They can easily swap a simple bucket attachment for a dredging attachment.

Farmers, therefore, don’t have to invest large amounts of money to help prevent flooding in the future.

The Clean-Up Operation

The same machinery used for defending against floods can be used for cleaning the problem up. Conservative estimates state that
cleaning up the damage from recent flooding in the South West could easily take up to a year. This will involve clearing debris and rebuilding
affected buildings.

So far, we’ve had at least 5,800 properties flooded. Insurers state this represents between £30,000 and £40,000 of damage per house.
All this contrasts with the amount of indirect damage caused by the damage to rail links and the loss of capacity from agricultural and
commercial operations.

Repairing the Damage with Machinery

Farmers and ordinary householders have pulled together to deal with flooding. Tractors can be used to wade through deep waters and
coordinate rescue efforts. Their large wheels enable them to get through flood waters where other vehicles would get stuck.

Diggers are particularly adept at helping with the clean-up operation. Where buildings have to be demolished, they can be used in a range
of ways. The sheer number of available attachments put them in high demand. Here are just some of the most important attachments:

  • Bucket for easily removing soil and other light debris.
  • Claw attachments for grabbing twisted metal and other heavier items.
  • Trenchers for rebuilding collapsed flood defences.

The size of diggers makes them ideal for performing work that builders on foot couldn’t manage. They have a high ground clearance, so
any existing obstacles can easily be negotiated. Combine this with their off-road treads and they’ll be able to deal with the saturated ground,
much of which will have turned boggy.

What Have the Government Done?

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced an additional £140 million in funding for flood defences to protect homes
in the future.

Planning regulations have also changed to force builders to construct houses in specific ways when they’re on flood plains. For example,
wiring electrical appliances through the ceilings instead of through the walls.

Grants have been awarded by the government and the Environment Agency to help farmers and businesses recover and build additional
flood defences on their land.

Farmers, under new regulations from the European Union, will have to take more measures to deter flooding to earn the annual grants they
receive. This will place more responsibility on farmers.

Overall, it’s clear that individuals will have to prepare for potential floods in the future. Farmers, especially, will need to invest in new plant
machinery to help them reduce the effects of heavy rainfall and tidal surges. Thankfully, they’re being supported through both the Environment
Agency and the Government.

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