From left: Nigel Everard from the Selby Area Internal Drainage Board, board chairman John Dennis, Nigel Adams MP, Flood Minister Rory Stewart MP, and farmer Charles Clark.
More must be done to get water off fields when floods recede, to prevent devastating crop damage, a Selby farmer has told the Government.
Charles Clark, who runs a farm in Wistow, joined Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams at a meeting with the Flood Minister Rory Stewart to explain the impact the Boxing Day floods had on the farming community.
Total losses suffered by farmers in the Selby district are estimated to be close to half a million pounds, as seed planted last autumn has been ruined, and the land has been too wet to replant early enough to get a crop this year.
Mr Clark said: “Farmers accept that flooding farmland next to the River Ouse is vital to protect the towns and villages but flood water must be removed as quickly as possible so crops have a chance of surviving. We are an essential part of the flood prevention strategy but we should not suffer massive financial loss as a consequence.”
Farmers in Selby help protect the town and nearby villages from flooding by having flood water diverted onto their land which is later removed by pumping stations, though these are currently not capable of draining the land once it has flooded.
This problem was also addressed at a meeting between Selby District farmers, the National Farmers Union and Mr Adams, and the formation of a task force was agreed to include the NFU, Mr Clark representing the farming community, the Environment Agency and Selby Internal District Drainage Board.
Mr Adams said: “The initial meeting was very constructive. Everybody agreed to work together to find a solution which could be taken forward and implemented.”
“Everybody involved has done an excellent job and this was recognised by the Minister who gave his full backing to the proposal, saying it could be a model to solve similar problems elsewhere. I will now give my support to the team so they can deliver the solution as soon as possible. This valuable farmland will then be better protected for any future flooding event while at the same time increasing protection for our towns and villages along the river.”
[Story via the York Press.]