Take water-related issues seriously, NFU tells government

Increasingly frequent flooding is threatening productive farmland
Increasingly frequent flooding is threatening productive farmland

The government has been told by the NFU to take water-related issues seriously in order to protect productive farmland for future use.

During a presentation at Floodex/Irrigex in Peterborough, the NFU highlighted how farming has been impacted by volatile weather events.

The farming industry is on the forefront of climate change impacts and producing safe and affordable food is a daily challenge for farmers.

The NFU highlighted the importance of internal drainage boards and explained why the government must have policies in place to protect a future supply of clean water.

NFU Vice President Stuart Roberts, who spoke to delegates at the trade event, said farmers bear the brunt of the impacts of extreme weather.

Mr Roberts said: “It’s not just a severe lack of water like we experienced during last summer’s agricultural drought but the flooding of agricultural land leading to a loss of crops and animals. Events like these expose the vulnerability of the farming sector.

“Farmers can be part of the solution and through internal drainage boards, created to manage intricate draining systems, help land flourish for agriculture, the environment and the communities that live there.”

He added: “The importance of these IDBs cannot be underestimated and the expertise and knowledge provided by farmers must be recognised. There must also be adequate funding to ensure that the great work farmers and IDBs are doing to protect people, property and livelihoods is not lost.”

The NFU said that the government must start taking water-related seriously in order to safeguard this 'essential' resource, and to protect productive farmland from predicted rises in sea level.

Mr Roberts added: “The lessons we have learned clearly identify what policies need to be in place to provide a clean water supply, ensure the future of the environment and deliver food security for the nation.”