Build an army of snowmen to stop flooding in Gloucestershire
SNOWMEN could be the answer to predicted flooding woes – according to the latest expert advice.
After a week of freezing temperatures which dipped deep below zero, mercury levels are expected to dramatically rise in the coming days, causing a sudden thaw.
With large amounts of water forecast to be running off of the likes of Cleeve and Leckhampton hills and with rain on the way, people have been told to get out in their gardens and get building.
The Environment Agency said compacting the snow into snowmen would help slow the rate of the thaw, reducing the amount of surface water.
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Environment Agency spokesman Roy Stokes said: "Ideally if everybody built themselves a snowman, that will slow the thaw down a bit.
"If you notice when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.
"We would rather it be a gradual thaw than a really quick one. If it does go too quick we are likely to see a few flood alerts. If you are at risk of flooding make sure you have got all of your planning in place."
Gritters are out again today to tackle icy roads. Forecasters are not predicting snow today or tomorrow but temperatures will dip below zero.
However, the idea has been given a frosty reception by many in Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Flood campaigner Dave Witts, secretary of the Severn and Avon Valley Combined Flood Group, branded the idea as "ridiculous".
He said: "How much snow does a snowman incorporate? How many would you have to build to reduce the rate of water flowing off the land?
"It sounds a bit stupid. If you have a three acre field and it has eight inches of snow on, to get rid of that snow I don't know how many snowmen you would have to make to do that. I can't take this seriously at all."
Meanwhile, Cheltenham Borough Councillor Barbara Driver (C, Lansdown) said: "It is a good thought, but come on, think it through?
"I would prefer it if they concentrated on teaching people how to drive in this weather."
Tewkesbury MP, Laurence Robertson, described the idea as a "novel solution".
He said: "I am not sure that this would have that big of an impact because there is snow all over the place but I have no objections to people doing it.
"Whether or not it would have an effect on the thaw, I am not too sure.
"But anything that would help against flooding is a good thing."