Government admits protecting farmland was not a priority - Farron questions Minister over flood response
Minister Hilary Benn MP today admitted that protecting farmland from the damaging effects of flooding had not been a Government priority after questioning by Liberal Democrat Defra Spokesperson Tim Farron MP.
Speaking today in the House of Commons, Mr Farron demanded the Government take stronger action to protect valuable farmland from flooding, after some 42,000 hectares of agricultural land was damaged during the 2007 floods.
Commenting Mr Farron said:
"Following the 2007 floods, the majority of attention was understandably focused on the impact on life and urban property, but an estimated £11.2million worth damage was inflicted on productive farmland with some individuals affected up to the value of £500,000. The Lyth Valley in my own constituency was particularly badly affected.
"Given that the average farm income is less than £13,500 and that many farmers were severely affected by the floods, I'm astounded that Hilary Benn admitted protecting farmland from flooding hadn't't been a priority.
"Within the next twenty years food production is going to have to double to cope with the increased demand of a rising population. With that in mind our farmland must be properly protected from the threat of flooding to allow us to meet the huge increase in demand for food production.
"It's obvious from today's remarks-and despite the importance of farming to our economy-that the Government hasn't made flood prevention for agricultural land a priority. The Government has a responsibility to ensure there isn't a repeat of the 2007 floods by investing in flood prevention techniques specifically for farmland."