In the last few months, farms across the UK have been affected by heavy rainfall and flooding that has destroyed crops and damaged buildings and local infrastructure.
During a speech at the recent Oxford Farming Conference, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Liz Truss, announced, subject to parliamentary approval, that farmers would be granted permission to maintain ditches up to 1.5km long on their land following successful maintenance pilots which showed that regular ditch maintenance could reduce flooding.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has said that Liz Truss had only addressed part of the package of solutions needed to reduce flood risk by allowing farmers to maintain ditches on their land.
However, her announcement was soon followed by news that flooding could soon become profitable for the farming community as the Government has proposed new plans to pay farmers to allow their land to become flooded.
The proposal put forward by the Government means that farmers could be rewarded with additional EU grant funding for designating land to be flooded. The scheme is aimed at preventing excess water flooding property in towns and villages downstream.
Professor Alan Jenkins of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), who has researched similar projects, said he supported the scheme. He was one of a number of experts to take part in a theoretical experiment in Oxford and found that peak river flow through the city would have been reduced by several feet if fields along the river had been allowed to flood.
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said that the flood scheme could be beneficial but should be planned rather than provided as a form of ad hoc compensation.
At Milsted Langdon, we understand the pressures faced by farmers. If you would like more information on Milsted Langdon’s services to agricultural and rural businesses, please contact us.