Opinion Lines:

An exercise regarding the attitudes to floods on the River Rushmore.


The majority of floods, and the damage caused by them, often occur on the flood plain. It is often these areas which are occupied by towns and villages and contain top grade agricultural land. Flood damage to such areas can be costly in human and economic terms. The financial loss due to floods can be great: transport systems, industrial production and everyday life is often disrupted.

Despite such potential problems people continue to live and farm on flood plains. Farmers benefit from the fertile, high-yielding land and builders appreciate the cheaper, building land and the room to expand. The advantage of using the land is balanced against the risk of flooding.

Flood Control on the River Rushmore.

There are plans to ‘improve’ the section of the river that flows through the settlement of Bridgetown. This would involve a straightening of the river, dredging it and building higher banks to prevent flooding.

What locals think about the developments.

  1. Peter Glasswell the manager of the local quarry, when questioned stated that he is whole-heartedly in favour of the flood alleviation scheme. It would mean that, because of the deepening of the channel, he could use barges to transport the sandstone from his quarry downstream more cheaply.
  2. The landlord of the ‘Saracen’s Head’ public house, Jason Mills, was generally in favour of the proposed developments. Mr. Mills said that ‘every time the river floods my cellar is under water and it’s no joke but over the years we have become used to it and to be honest, it only happens every couple of years. The raising of the river banks will may ruin the pleasant river-side setting that my patrons enjoy’.
  3. Chief inspector Karen Nash of the local police force expressed concern about the severity of the floods. When interviewed she said ‘when the river floods, we have hardly enough helpers or resources to rescue trapped people and animals. We welcome the idea’.
  4. Local builder Richard Holland expressed concern about any potential developments.‘I make a living from repairing flood damage to homes and roads. What will happen to me?’
  5. Kevin Pegg, a local farmer, also had reservations about the flood alleviation scheme. ‘The floods keep my soil fertile. Who will pay for the extra fertiliser if the flooding is stopped? Furthermore, as a conservationist I am reluctant to put artificial fertiliser on my land’.

Flood prevention schemes: For or Against them?

Read the information above. Five people give their views on the flood prevention scheme which is proposed to take place on the River Rushmore which flows through the settlement of Bridgetown. These are:

  • Peter Glasswell.
  • Jason Mills.
  • Karen Nash.
  • Richard Holland.
  • Kevin Pegg.

Carefully study their opinions. Draw a line like the one below, but make sure that that you leave at least 5 cm. above and below the line.                                           

The flood prevention scheme
should go ahead. 

The flood prevention scheme
should be stopped.

This is an opinion line.

  • Place the initials of each person somewhere along the line to show where their views fall on this issue.
  • After this draw a vertical line down through the middle of your line. Label the top of this line Environmentally Friendly and the bottom Harmful to the Environment. Now relocate your 5 people by locating them horizontally as well as vertically.
  • In an extended piece of writing explain, giving your reasons, as to whether the flood prevention scheme should go ahead.


  • Does the opinion line help you in making up your mind? If yes or no - why?
  • What does the second line do?
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