Farmers that store flood water to protect homes, and lose valuable but uninsurable crops as a result, should receive compensation.
That is according to Nigel Adams MP, who made his views known following a meeting with the NFU and more than 20 farmers in his constituency on Saturday (16 January).
Speaking after the meeting Mr Adams said he felt there was a strong case to be made for compensation to be made available for farmers who were facing more frequent floods and whose crops were often lost as a result of storing flood water for weeks on end.
“I’ve been meeting farmers today and understand that much of their land still covered in water three weeks after the Boxing Day flooding event,” he said. “I think there is a strong case for government to discuss compensation for those that have lost uninsurable crops.
“We’ve done an awful lot to protect homes and I think we really need to be engaging with the farming community and see what can be done for them. If we are expecting people to give up their land and crops to protect homes I think there needs to be a proper discussion had about compensation and that’s something I will be taking up with ministers.
“We also need to be talking very seriously about drainage and how we manage water. I will be holding meetings with the local Internal Drainage Board and ministers to discuss that.”
During the meeting, Richard Bramley – a local farmer from Kelfield who still has more than 60 acres of crops under water – said it was vital that the government focused its flooding expenditure on maintenance as well as capital works.
Mr Adams was reminded that the pumping station at Great Clough, if fully operational, would have the capacity to clear all flooded land within 10 to 14 days – something that would potentially allow arable crops to survive. However through lack of maintenance by the Environment Agency, the three pumps at Great Clough are now reduced to just one. The resulting flooding now covers an area greater than Lake Windermere with 20 feet of water.
After the meeting, NFU County Adviser Lucinda Douglas said the local farming community appreciated Mr Adams’ support.
“We had a great turnout of our members on Saturday and this gave them the chance to raise flooding and other issues directly with their MP.
“The recent floods have had a severe impact on many local farmers and it is very welcome to hear Mr Adams supporting our call for greater recognition of the impact of flooding on agricultural businesses, especially as it is not possible to insure standing crops.
“We look forward to further meetings to take this forward.”