NFU Vice-President, Stuart Roberts, has been speaking out about the importance of agricultural land from a water management perspective.
Attending a series of member meetings with the Environment Agency last month to discuss the development of the new Humber Strategy, Mr Roberts said the take-home message was the importance of agricultural land both in terms of food production and its ability to alleviate the impact of flooding and so provide a public good.
“The amount of land potentially affected by a tidal flood, produces enough food to feed ¼ million people for a month,” he said.
“These are big numbers, but farmland also has the ability to help keep the homes of Hull or Goole dry - and this important public good must also be recognised.
“Balancing these conflicting objectives is crucial and we need to see the infrastructure in place to ensure flooded farmland can be drained quickly.”
The meetings came about in response to NFU calls for greater consultation with local farmers as the new Humber Strategy is being developed and Mr Roberts welcomed the opportunity to sit down with the Environment Agency at the start of the process.
“There is a big difference between having the chance to comment on proposals once they have been drawn up and getting your point of view across before the pen hits the paper,” he said.
“Being in at the beginning means we have to be creative in how we approach the new strategy and put forward ideas and solutions.
“I was pleased to see members doing just that, while airing frustrations with ongoing issues around maintenance.”