Lib Dems join NFU’s call for proactive plan for flood defences

Environment and climate
Tim Farron

The Liberal Democrats’ Efra spokesperson Tim Farron has written to the NFU, after more than 1,750 people added their names to an open letter urging all political parties to outline their plans to protect farming businesses from flooding.

Following the devastation caused by Storms Babet and Ciarán last year, the NFU sent the letter to Defra Secretary of State Steve Barclay, Shadow Secretary of State Steve Reed and Mr Farron.

The letter called for a proactive plan for Environment Agency controlled watercourses and flood defences, as well as ensuring farmers are paid fairly for flood storage services and asking for changes to the way funding for flood defences is currently allocated.

NFU President Tom Bradshaw said “urgent action” was needed to tackle the issue of flooding, adding that “we need to see all political parties deliver solutions to mitigate the impact of flooding of farmland to ensure our farmers and growers can continue producing food for the nation”.

‘We must take proactive steps’

Mr Farron’s letter in response assures farmers that the Liberal Democrats “join your call for a proactive management plan for Environment Agency controlled watercourses and defences”.

He added that the government should bring forward the £5.2bn flood defence spending, ensure Natural England and the Environment Agency are properly funded, and ring-fence funding allocations for flood risk management.

“I could not agree more regarding the significance of farmers’ contributions to flood management across the United Kingdom,” he wrote.

“I have the privilege of being the MP for a constituency that is home to well over 1000 farms.

“I worry that farmers are still systematically at the bottom of the government’s priority list when it comes to tackling flood risk.”

Liberal Democrats Efra spokesperson Tim Farron

“As severe weather events, such as storms and flooding, become more extreme and more frequent, we must take proactive steps to ensure our farmers are well supported to recover and build resilience.

“As I said in the debate about Storm Henk earlier this year, I worry that farmers are still systematically at the bottom of the government’s priority list when it comes to tackling flood risk.”

Mr Farron also called on the government to increase the budget for ELMs by £1bn and invest in new schemes to support farmers in delivering natural flood defences.

The NFU continues to engage with all parties to raise the concerns of members who have been affected by flooding.

Read Mr Farron’s letter below in full:

Tim Farron NFU-Flooding-Letter_Page_1

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Our general election manifesto – Farming for Britain's Future – outlines our key asks of the next government to ensure farmers and growers can continue to deliver for the environment, economy and local communities while producing more of the great British food we all enjoy.

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