Natural World Feed

Formby Flood Defence

Is Formby always likely to flood?

The answer to that question is a resounding Yes!

The reason is easily explained because of the geography of Formby. It is open to all three of the causes of flooding. According to the Zurich Insurance Company.

The three definitions of flooding they cite are Fluvial flooding, Pluvial flooding and Coastal flooding.

A fluvial, or river flood, occurs when the water level in a river, lake or stream rises and overflows onto the surrounding banks, shores and neighbouring land. The water level rise could be due to excessive rain or snowmelt.

A fluvial, or river flood,
occurs when the water level in a river, lake or stream rises and overflows onto the surrounding banks, shores and neighbouring land. The water level rise could be due to excessive rain or snowmelt.

A pluvial flood occurs when an extreme rainfall event creates a flood
independent of an overflowing water body. A common misconception about the flood is that you must be located near a body of water to be at risk.
Yet pluvial flooding can happen in any location, urban or rural; even in areas with no water bodies in the vicinity.

Coastal flooding is the inundation of land areas along the coast by seawater.
Common causes of coastal flooding are intense windstorm events occurring at the same time as the high tide (storm surge), and tsunamis.

Storm surge is created when high winds from a windstorm force water onshore — this is the leading cause of coastal flooding and often the greatest threat associated with a windstorm. The effects increase depending on the tide - windstorms that occur during high tide result in devastating storm surge floods. In this type of flood, water overwhelms low-lying land and often causes devastating loss of life and property. (Source: )

Recently various local Councillors and our MP have commented on the causes and potential solutions. On a personal note, the recent exchanges between one of our Parish Council members and a Sefton Councillor have added little to answer the question of 'What can and should be done'? On the other hand, Bill Esterson MP seems to be unaware that the Environment Agency has already agreed on a policy for river flooding. They first mooted the idea at least 20 years ago. An accidental breach of a dyke on Moss Lane contained the Cheshire Lines Brook, which was flooding onto the local fields.

This, in turn, led to the Lunt Meadows project which was designed to be the solution for any flooding of the River Alt. At the time of adopting the policy, a few members of the public in Formby were bitterly opposed, citing the spread of malaria-like diseases because the scheme would be home to extensive mosquito colonies. As a member of the Little Altcar Parish Council, I supported the flood meadow scheme. And I'm pleased I did.

Nevertheless, since so much of Formby is below sea level and the effects of the Climate Crisis get even more significant, I'm of the view that we will continue to be threatened by flooding until the causes are addressed by everyone in the world. But, in the meantime, it would help if our local Parish Councillors had a closer look at their Powers in relation to Public Health and flooding. The Council have acted once before around 2011 when they made a decision to clean up the Long Lane Brook and insist that landowners clear the banks of the brook.

At the time it raised a great deal of vitriolic criticism from residents, some of whom felt it despoiled a little bit of their local environment.

I wonder what they think now?



The Shortest Day in Formby

A winter solstice story.

Two years ago the day before the winter solstice I spent the day, unconscious for 10.5 hours, while a team of surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists kept me alive during major surgery.

The day before when I asked the surgeon, "what am I looking at if I don't have the operation", the answer was blunt, "about three months", he said.

There was no choice. But two years later I'm alive, thankful and full of gratitude that I'm able to once again celebrate this year's annual celebration of the death and rebirth of the sun.


So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;

They hung their homes with evergreen;

They burned beseeching fires all night long

To keep the year alive,

And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake

They shouted, revelling.

Through all the frosty ages you can hear them

Echoing behind us—Listen!!

All the long echoes sing the same delight,

This shortest day,

As promise wakens in the sleeping land:

They carol, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.

Welcome, Yule!


Life Cycle of Trees

There's a time in the year when you look out of the window.

image from
And the world seems poorer somehow. Trees shed their leaves, and we feel a strong sense of loss, perhaps even grief. Something in our life appears to have died.

This annual reminder of the inevitable passage of time is a sobering reminder to many of us; the older one gets, the more you recognise your own mortality.

But I find consolation in this fascinating story about the life cycle of trees. The more trees we plant as individuals or replace others like the prematurely ageing Horse Chestnut trees in the village, due sadly to disease, the more I feel I belong to a constantly creative process.

All of us must take care of our shared earth during our opportunity to contribute to an act of creation unfolding here and now. 

In part two of this video series, Paul from Plantlife and our Ancients of the Future project, takes you step-by-step through our ageing process work and the benefits of fungi on best practice for woodland cross-taxa management. In this video, you'll learn about the Ancients of the Future project work happening on the ground. Find out more about the project here: