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31 March 2014 08:54:33|News

Restricting water access may damage UK food production


The government has been urged to exempt agriculture from proposals to reduce access to water, according to the Country Land and Business Association.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “Agriculture represents less than one percent of the total licensed volumes of water, and should be removed from the abstraction regime.
“The Government’s proposals must guarantee food businesses have secure access to water if essential food security is to be maintained.
“A system that restricts the ability to abstract water during very low river flows could harm crops, fruit and vegetables and hinder food production.”
The CLA said the proposal to automatically revoke unused abstraction licenses will also cause problems for the agricultural industry.
Mr Robinson said: “Food businesses have strategic reasons licensed volumes of water may not be fully used, for instance excessive rainfall or crop rotation.
“Abstractors must first be given the chance to justify their need for water, and if the decision to revoke a licence is maintained, there should be the option to sell or transfer it.
“Licences and the right to abstract water are a valuable asset and underpin the capital value of the business, therefore compensation should be given if they are removed in order to prevent the decline of UK food businesses.”

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