New taskforce seeks integrated water management for the Fens

Water Management - Sly feature - Cottle

The NFU has welcomed the launch of a new multi-sector taskforce to tackle water resource management, flooding, climate change and economic disparity across the Fens.

NFU Deputy President Stuart Roberts and Lindsay Hargreaves, who represents the NFU on the Water Resources East (WRE) Board have attended ‘Future Fens Integrated Adaptation Senior Leadership Taskforce’, organised by WRE and Anglian Water.

Future Fens aims to pursue a holistic approach, bringing together major strategic programmes of work for flood management and for water resources in the Fens in ways that are “ambitious, integrated and efficient”.

In its report, Delivering for Britain, the NFU describes the Fens as a powerhouse of British Farming.

An integral area

More than one-fifth of England’s water intensive crops are grown in the Fens, worth £750 million, with growers of crops including potatoes, vegetables, flowers and fruit dependent on access to water to sustain the Fens’ hugely important irrigated crops sector.

The NFU recently launched its integrated water management strategy, calling on all agencies to manage water holistically to meet the challenges of both floods and droughts.

The NFU welcomes the catchment approach to managing the flow and use of water proposed by Future Fens, which is needed to ensure that we plan for flood and water resource resilience in the face of changing climate, sea level rise, population growth and economic growth opportunities.

Planning is key

The Future Fens launch event found consensus on the need for innovative, co-ordinated and sustainable solutions planned for the short, medium long term.

The NFU would like to see farmers and land managers play a central role in in future water management planning.