Posted on 4th April 2024

Will DEFRA listen to Lincolnshire’s flood campaigners?

The start of 2024 will be remembered for the unprecedented amount of rain that fell across the UK, particularly Lincolnshire. There has been widespread flooding, and the impact on farmland across the county has been severe.

With thousands of acres of productive land flooded or subject to ponding, the Lincolnshire Flood Risk and Water Management Partnership has submitted several requests for DEFRA.

The Lincolnshire Flood Risk and Water Management Partnership comprises the Environment Agency, Witham Third and Witham Fourth internal drainage boards, the Association of Drainage Authorities, Lincolnshire County Council and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU). The NFU hopes that if this pilot scheme in Lincolnshire is successful, the government will introduce it to other flood-affected areas.

Of the points submitted to DEFRA, the NFU is encouraging the Environment Agency to put maintenance of flood defences and watercourses at the forefront of its activities. The NFU also wants to see rapids undertaken where breaches and weak spots have led to flooding.

A longer-term ambition for the partnership is a review of food risk and water management, including farmers introducing ways to store rainfall for use later in the year.

However, it is more than just the farming community that the partnership is seeking to engage with. Stakeholders include local authorities, government agencies, environmental organisations, and community groups. All of these organisations can help develop risk assessments, maintain and improve infrastructure, engage with the broader public and develop natural flood management strategies, such as tree planting, wetland restoration, and sustainable land management practices, which all help to slow the flow of water and improve water retention.

With the recent announcement from the World Meteorological Organisation saying the rise in the world’s temperature is ‘off the scale’, there is no doubt that unless there is a radical change in society, Lincolnshire’s farmers and the wider public will face even more challenging times.

Hopefully, the requests made to Defra by the Lincolnshire Flood Risk and Water Management Partnership will not fall on deaf ears, and the start of 2025 will see new strategies introduced to counter the effects of rising rainfall.


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