SELF-APPOINTED public champion Paul Andrews fails to serve the public interest by his latest flight of fancy on flooding (Gazette & Herald, April 16).

It is always true that the public deserves an explanation for everything councillors do - which is exactly what was given when his motion was voted down.

Sadly Coun Andrews sat with ears and mind firmly closed during the debate and eyes shut when the reasons were published.

At the time I pointed out that the Environment Agency proposal to block certain drains and abandon some flood defences sounds like madness.

The reality is that this would be part of a process of creating water meadows or allowing land to flood where it naturally has done in the past.

Slowing the speed of water run off from the North York Moors and upland areas is in fact a sane way of reducing the threat of homes and businesses being deluged.

We still need flood defences to be built in Pickering as well as these proposed measures but the changes are at least designed to be of some help.

And if it is a choice between an acre or two of farmland being flooded, or the same area in the centre of town, I know which I'd support.

In the event that some agricultural land is allowed to temporarily disappear under water then the agency must compensate farmers for any damage.

The article quotes the agency assurance that the measures would only be taken where they would not increase flood risk to property. Coun Andrews then says in the next breath, or the one after, that the plan means villages will be flooded. Er, no.

Then comes the gigantic leap to a conclusion that villages are to be sacrificed to protect the towns. Er, no again.

Where there is a case for the prosecution it is in the neglect by the Environment Agency of maintenance on the River Derwent and Pickering Beck.

It also stands in the dock with the Government over the failure to provide defences for Pickering - on which there will be more to say soon.

But in looking at improved land management it has at least got something right, which is why Coun Andrews is wrong.

He will, I am sure continue to flog this particular dead horse - it is time though that someone called the RSPCA.

COUN HOWARD KEAL, Lib Dem leader, Ryedale District Council