NFU urges for river dredging in Somerset

NFU urges for river dredging in Somerset

NFU urges for river dredging in Somerset

First published in News Bridgwater Mercury: Photograph of the Author by

THE National Farmers Union is urging for the re-introduction of “significant and consistent” river maintenance work – specifically dredging across Somerset.

In a letter to floods minister Dan Rogerson, the NFU South West says the action is the only way trust and confidence amongst the farming and wider community can be restored.

Regional director Melanie Squires said: “Without this we will not be able to bring the key partners together to address the wider and longer-term issues of how to manage the situation.

“We must see urgent action by the Environment Agency, backed by Defra ministers, to allocate sufficient resources or the situation, not simply in terms of the damage done to land and property, but also to trust in central government and its agencies, will be irreversible.”

Ms Squires has also condemned the position of conservation bodies such as the RSPB, which have questioned the value of dredging.

She claimed that it was “eroding good faith amongst the farming community” and failed to recognise the work farmers had done to encourage and sustain wildlife, which was also being imperilled by the frequent and enduring inundations of flood water.

Comments (3)

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11:37am Thu 23 Jan 14

theyardy says...

China £24 million in foreign Aid.

Somerset £0 in dredging the rivers Aid.

Hope the residents of Somerset, remember this next Election time, probably not in this Tory safe area.
China £24 million in foreign Aid. Somerset £0 in dredging the rivers Aid. Hope the residents of Somerset, remember this next Election time, probably not in this Tory safe area. theyardy
  • Score: 6

9:09am Fri 24 Jan 14

Mr_Opinionated says...

Dredging the Tone and Parrett won't happen for a very long time because if the Environment Agency agree to release funds to do it properly they will be admitting that they have been negligent in not maintaining the river properly, and that could also leave them open for prosecution given that they have been negligent in there duties.
Also Farmers needs to look at their activities as well, since they have ripped up so many hedgerows and trees to make way for larger swathes of land that have upset the water table significantly increasing the amount of run off from farm land into the streams and rivers compounding the increase in water volumes and silting.
Finally I don't think a lot of people realise that the Somerset Levels are a FLOOD PLAIN funnily enough when it rains a lot they will flood, that is what makes the land so fertile but it is a double edged sword unfortunately.
What Somerset needs is some joined up thinking between Government departments, the Environment Agency and Farmers Unions, however we can't all live in a utopian society as that would make too much common sense.
Dredging the Tone and Parrett won't happen for a very long time because if the Environment Agency agree to release funds to do it properly they will be admitting that they have been negligent in not maintaining the river properly, and that could also leave them open for prosecution given that they have been negligent in there duties. Also Farmers needs to look at their activities as well, since they have ripped up so many hedgerows and trees to make way for larger swathes of land that have upset the water table significantly increasing the amount of run off from farm land into the streams and rivers compounding the increase in water volumes and silting. Finally I don't think a lot of people realise that the Somerset Levels are a FLOOD PLAIN funnily enough when it rains a lot they will flood, that is what makes the land so fertile but it is a double edged sword unfortunately. What Somerset needs is some joined up thinking between Government departments, the Environment Agency and Farmers Unions, however we can't all live in a utopian society as that would make too much common sense. Mr_Opinionated
  • Score: 0

5:30pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Samej1 says...

Mr_Opinionated wrote:
Dredging the Tone and Parrett won't happen for a very long time because if the Environment Agency agree to release funds to do it properly they will be admitting that they have been negligent in not maintaining the river properly, and that could also leave them open for prosecution given that they have been negligent in there duties.
Also Farmers needs to look at their activities as well, since they have ripped up so many hedgerows and trees to make way for larger swathes of land that have upset the water table significantly increasing the amount of run off from farm land into the streams and rivers compounding the increase in water volumes and silting.
Finally I don't think a lot of people realise that the Somerset Levels are a FLOOD PLAIN funnily enough when it rains a lot they will flood, that is what makes the land so fertile but it is a double edged sword unfortunately.
What Somerset needs is some joined up thinking between Government departments, the Environment Agency and Farmers Unions, however we can't all live in a utopian society as that would make too much common sense.
The levels are not a flood plain in the traditional sense - the levels and moors have been managed by man for many years into productive and valuable farmland whereas a flood plain is nominally an area that suffers periodic flooding when banks over-top, flowing back into the river as levels fall. We all know this doesn't happen here, it requires the intervention of pumping to send the water back to the rivers.
The lack of management over the past 20 years risks turning it back into a stagnant sterile swamp that neither nature nor man benefits from - and if left I fear it's entirely possible the flood risk will migrate to the towns downstream.
[quote][p][bold]Mr_Opinionated[/bold] wrote: Dredging the Tone and Parrett won't happen for a very long time because if the Environment Agency agree to release funds to do it properly they will be admitting that they have been negligent in not maintaining the river properly, and that could also leave them open for prosecution given that they have been negligent in there duties. Also Farmers needs to look at their activities as well, since they have ripped up so many hedgerows and trees to make way for larger swathes of land that have upset the water table significantly increasing the amount of run off from farm land into the streams and rivers compounding the increase in water volumes and silting. Finally I don't think a lot of people realise that the Somerset Levels are a FLOOD PLAIN funnily enough when it rains a lot they will flood, that is what makes the land so fertile but it is a double edged sword unfortunately. What Somerset needs is some joined up thinking between Government departments, the Environment Agency and Farmers Unions, however we can't all live in a utopian society as that would make too much common sense.[/p][/quote]The levels are not a flood plain in the traditional sense - the levels and moors have been managed by man for many years into productive and valuable farmland whereas a flood plain is nominally an area that suffers periodic flooding when banks over-top, flowing back into the river as levels fall. We all know this doesn't happen here, it requires the intervention of pumping to send the water back to the rivers. The lack of management over the past 20 years risks turning it back into a stagnant sterile swamp that neither nature nor man benefits from - and if left I fear it's entirely possible the flood risk will migrate to the towns downstream. Samej1
  • Score: 3

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