0 MPs launch flood inquiry

FloodMPs have launched an inquiry into the best way to prevent future floods in England - including the potential role that farmers might play.

The inquiry by a Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) committee will offer farmers the opportunity to have their say on how flood risk should be managed.

It follows severe flooding this winter, which left vast areas of the country submerged and cost communities more than £5bn.

"Flood damage of the sort suffered by communities across the UK this winter is becoming all-too-frequent an occurrence." commented Committee chairman Neil Parish. "I know from personal experience how flooding can damage not only buildings, land and infrastructure, but how it can also devastate lives."

Mr Parish said questions needed to be answered about whether adequate measures were in place to plan for frequent, extreme flood events. "We want to see how effectively the Environment Agency predicts and prepares for floods in a changing climate," he said. "We will also be asking how far Defra policies protect communities in high-risk areas from future devastation."

DredgingOpinion differs on the best way to tackle floods - whether by dredging rivers to speed the flow of water, or by slowing down water higher up in catchments before it reaches lower levels.

The inquiry will look at how adequately defences protect communities and agricultural land from floods - and whether current funding arrangements target spending in the right way.

There have already been suggestions that farmers could be paid to undertake flood mitigation measures - including by allowing their land to "store" water to save towns and villages.

"Paying farmers is another stupid idea by people who don't understand the countryside." said farmer Colin Rayner, whose Berkshire farm was flooded in spring 2014. "We are the only country in the world that believes dredging doesn't work and that maintaining watercourses destroys the environment."

"We have suffered some of the worst flooding in the UK over the past three years, yet you don't see the same thing happening in places like Holland. The difference is that Holland maintains its flood defences and its watercourses properly - and we don't."

Precised from the original Farmers Weekly article HERE

Images courtesy of BBC

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