As the winter of 2019-20, and the more localised events during winter 2020-21 has shown us, rural areas remain heavily at risk from flooding events in a changing climate. The number of farm properties and buildings now impacted by flooding is increasing, as maintenance of watercourses and critical flood defence assets have been reduced or withdrawn.
The new normal?
In some instances, flooding of rural areas is increasingly perceived to some as “the new normal”. Flood Re, where insurers pay a levy to subsidise the premium of high flood risk properties, has helped underpin the availability of affordable household flood insurance, which is helpful to both farmers and the wider rural community. Although, the consultation response did not suggest that the government was considering that the scheme would be made available to businesses in future.
Rural communities disadvantaged
The challenges in rural communities are exasperated by the fact that, on average, urban areas received 45% more funding than rural areas in 2017-18. Regardless of whatever specific measures or insurance schemes are chosen, the priority must be that the indicators are rural-proofed as to ensure that rural communities are not disadvantaged by the nature of smaller populations and lower economic impacts in comparison to urban communities as highlighted in the NFU’s Levelling Up Report?
The NFU’s response is from an agricultural and horticultural perspective, therefore some of the questions have not been addressed. Read the NFU’s full consultation response.
Fair compensation needed
The NFU strongly believes that where farmers are mitigating the local flood risk eg, through flood storage schemes, there should be fair compensation for with whole-farm business impacts and to cover diminution of the future land value.
Help for members
If you have any issues with flooding or land drainage and you’re an NFU member you can receive free advice from NFU CallFirst – give the team a call today on 0370 845 8458.