More funding needs to be directed towards river maintenance to ensure flooding problems do not get worse and land in rural areas recovers as quickly as possible, the NFU said.
Deputy president Meurig Raymond said recent flooding in parts of the country had reinforced the need to ensure a balance between investment in larger capital flood defence projects that primarily serve urban areas and funding for river maintenance.
“Investment is needed to increase the capacity of the pumps the Environment Agency and the Internal Drainage Boards have available to help clear flood water quickly,” he said.
“Without adequate funding being made available to maintain waterways, flooding problems will only increase. The NFU recognises that the amount of funding available is limited and money has to be spent carefully. But £20m spent annually on river maintenance is not enough to do the job effectively.
“Maintenance is a key issue for farmers as regular periodic works maintains conveyance and capacity within the river system.
“This means floodwater can return to the river system quickly and reduces the extent and duration of flooding. If water can’t return to the river system, flooding will extend over a greater area and last longer as the water has nowhere to go.’’