Huge downpour and river breach floods Lincs crops

Farmland flooded near Wainfleet, Lincolnshire_66344

Since the Steeping River burst its banks in Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, the NFU has been on the ground working with members and the authorities to help ensure the situation is resolved.

Months of rain fell in the space of just a couple of days last week, inundating rivers and watercourses and swelling the Steeping to such an extent that it burst out at Wainfleet, swamping nearby homes, businesses, roads and farmland.

RAF Chinook helicopters have plugged the river flood bank breach by dropping more than 400 tonnes of ballast into it.

Local IDBs are working hard to reduce water levels in general, which are reported to be reducing at present.

Worried about flooding? Make sure you read our members-only Flooding Toolbox 

All three emergencies are working together to ensure a coordinated effort and the Environment Agency have installed ultra-high velocity pumps at different locations to help relieve the pressure and volumes of water present.

They are also monitoring cracks to the Steeping's south side flood bank west of the breach, a section which poses a significant additional risk should it fail.

Army engineers and drones are keeping a close eye on the situation. At best the banks are fragile and the rain forecast this week is worrying the emergency services.

NFU East Midlands environment adviser Simon Fisher has been at the centre of the situation from the start, helping affected members deal with the fallout of the floods.

Farmland flooded near Wainfleet, Lincolnshire_66345

"As you would expect, the NFU is in contact with local members in the affected area. We have also been in close contact with senior people in the EA and have a direct route into their incident centre in Lincoln," he said. 

"The key is working with the EA to ensure the situation is resolved as soon as possible. We have offered our networking expertise to the EA and will keep all members up-to-date with developments online.

"While people and property are of course the priority, looking ahead, we will want to ensure that the crops and farmland aspect of this emergency are looked at.

"Local MP Matt Warman visited the area on Saturday and met with local farmer Oliver Shooter.

Impact of flood risk on farmers must be taken seriously, says NFU 

"This incident follows significant rainfall over a short period of time and highlights serious questions which we need answers to going forward.

"Once the water subsides and the emergency is over, we will look to establish what led the floodbank to fail and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

"The status quo simply isn’t good enough.

"I have started receiving the wider concerns of farmers across the area that have been echoed by the local IBDs about past maintenance (not de-silted for 50 years) and badger and fox holes in the banks.

"There has been a critical failure of the flood defence system for the whole community in the area and the feedback from many farmers is they would like to see a thorough investigation into what has gone wrong."

Last edited on: 17:06:2019

Share this story:

NFU members: Have your say

Want to share your views? You must be logged in to comment – please login here. Not a member? Join us here.

© 2019 - NFU Online