0 Careless farming adding to floods

The UK government is discussing new rules to stop farmers contributing to flooding through poor land management.

Experts say careless farming has made floods worse in Somerset and elsewhere.

Some upland farmers have caused soil and water to flush into rivers by leaving fields bare and compacting land with cattle and heavy machinery.

Environmentalists say grants should be withheld if farms are managed in a way that encourages floods - but farmers don't want more regulations.

Scientists are particularly concerned about maize, the crop that creates most rainfall run-off.

Some experts want maize to be banned from steep slopes altogether because its bare rows contribute so much to flooding and silt.

The rules are being discussed in informal consultations, run by the environment department Defra, over what farmers should do to qualify for the £3.6bn grants they receive from the taxpayer.

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