UK farmers hailed as heroes as they use fields to cease UK cities and cities flooding | UK | News | EUROtoday

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Hundreds of farmers have let their land flood to guard Britain’s villages and cities.

Britain is enduring its wettest winter in 130 years as massive elements of the nation are submerged in water.

Communities had been starting to recuperate from Storm Gerrit and Storm Babet when Storm Henk hit final week.

Martin Lines, chief govt of the Nature Friendly Farming Network, mentioned: “I know farmers right now who have acres of their land under water and farmers’ floodplains have become an absolute necessity in slowing the flow from reaching nearby towns and villages.

“These fields have evolved to cope with flooding. And what’s under water in winter, come summer, is rich in flowers for pollinators and producing forage and hay for livestock.”

Climate change has made excessive climate occasions akin to floods extra frequent within the UK.

Landowners are in search of nature-based options to assist sort out the difficulty and mitigate towards the worst impacts.

Tim Field, of the North East Cotswold Farmer Cluster, mentioned: “With healthy soils that are high in carbon, a field acts like a sponge.
“We can use sustainable farming practices to increase soil health and carbon, whilst still producing food.

“The science underpins new markets for nature-based solutions for flood prevention, drought resilience and carbon capture. We believe the beneficiaries of this flood mitigation (eg flood insurers, infrastructure and businesses) should pay for this benefit – and not pass it on to the cost of food production – as it should help offset the need for expensive flood defences, maintenance or damages.”

The authorities’s Environment Land Management scheme provides incentives to farmers to spice up sustainable practices.
Professor Nicola Cannon from the Royal Agricultural University mentioned: “I think many farmers are thinking very carefully about making their farms more resilient.”
“We’re seeing more freak weather events, including high levels of rainfall causing flooding.” She defined farmers had been contemplating “how they manage their land” to minimise threat but additionally the “opportunities” to assist communities downstream.

Meanwhile heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding has affected growers across the nation, together with in Lincolnshire, East Anglia, Cornwall and Scotland.

One of the largest growers of winter greens, TH Clements, based mostly close to Boston in Lincolnshire, reported that there have solely had a handful of dry days since October which has made harvesting troublesome.

TH Clements industrial director John Moulding mentioned: “This is the worst flooding we have had this century and we have lost about 20% of our total winter crops including sprouts, cabbages, cauliflower and leeks.

“It’s been a very tough time for us for more than three months both physically and financially in having to pull the vegetables out of the muddy fields.

“We have literally had to race against the clock to get the vegetables pulled out of the ground to stop them from rotting.”

Gloucestershire farmer Debbie Wilkins lets a 3rd of her land flood to guard town downstream.

She owns Norton Court Farm close to Gloucester, and receives a authorities grant to put aside 300 acres as a floodplain.

Debbie’s land has flooded 3 times this winter, together with lately which has brought about issues for roads and properties.

She mentioned: “I think the frequency of floods is increasing. As a child, I remember every four or five years the fields would flood but now it’s two or three times a year.”

Debbie, 51, doesn’t obtain cash for taking water onto her floodplain however a few of her fields profit from authorities grants due to their species range.

She mentioned: “Because my fields flood, we’ve always farmed them in a low intensity way to make them more resilient. I could try to put arable crops or grow more high intensity grass. If it didn’t flood, it would give me more financial rewards, but because they flood I try to farm in a more resilient way.

“We’ve got other fields that are slightly higher that don’t flood so often but are beginning to flood more now so I’m converting those from arable into grass that can cope with flooding.”

Dairy farmer Mandy Stoker has advised how she not grows crops due to the danger of flood waters killing her produce.
The environmental scientists, 60, from North Shropshire, used to develop wheat and maize however switched absolutely to cattle 4 years in the past.
She mentioned: “We’re on a floodplain. We’re always going to flood. We farm in a way that lives with that. We don’t put crops on there anymore because of the risk of those crops failing. They’ve been washed away or because flood water stays so long it kills them. We don’t do crops. It’s just too much of a risk.
“We have cattle now. We do dairy farming. I’ve always had cattle but we used to grow maize, wheat and rape. We haven’t done that for the last four or five years.”
Mandy advised how a defensive mound referred to as an argae, constructed to guard villages alongside the River Severn, regularly spills over with flood water.
She mentioned:”It works fairly effectively. If water goes excessive, it’s a foul flood. We’ve had 4 main floods since 2020. Before that, it was in 2001 when it truly went excessive of that argae.
“There was a long gap but now it’s once or even twice a year. This time, unusually, it went right to the top and started to trickle over, and then stopped.”