CLA calls for urgent look at UK flooding management

The CLA is calling for an urgent review of flood management after it was suggested that a choice be made between protecting town or country

Flooded fields around the River Tone in Somerset
Flooded fields around the River Tone in Somerset

The CLA is calling for an urgent review of flood management following Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith’s comment that a choice needs to be made between protecting town or country.

The association said that in order to achieve food security, the Government must recognise the economic importance of agricultural land and ensure its budget is spent on flood protection across the board.

North regional director Dorothy Fairburn said: “The Government says it values food security but we are never going to maintain it if prime areas of agricultural land are at risk of flooding.

“In the current economic climate there is clearly a need to cut public expenditure but Defra and the Environment Agency must review their priorities if we are to maintain and improve our ability to feed ourselves.”

The CLA is also calling on the Government to make it easier for landowners to maintain flood defences in areas where the Environment Agency is withdrawing its funding.

The association says the Government needs to look at Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) which have a track record of managing flood risks efficiently and effectively.

Miss Fairburn added: “In some cases individual landowners are willing to take on the responsibility for defences but they become frustrated by the huge amount of red tape and cost involved.

“IDBs work because they are run by stakeholders from the local community with a direct interest in preventing flooding. They are a perfect example of local decision-making that works and we need more of them.

“The Government must do all it can to encourage their creation in areas where they do not already exist.”

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