‘Tighten up our defences’, MP to tell Government

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Farmers and food producers in South Holland are to send a strong message to the Government asking for more protection from floods and big supermarkets.

Members of the NFU and Wash Frontagers Group, representing farmers and landowners in the area, met with South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes in Spalding to discuss a range of issues, including the food industry and the continuing impact of the floods in December 2013.

Stafford Proctor, NFU Holland branch chairman and a Wash Frontagers Group member, said: “We met with John Hayes and explained to him the issues that we have following the tidal surge in 2013 and the role of the Grocery Code Adjudicator in sorting out disputes between suppliers and supermarkets.

“We reminded Mr Hayes of the dangers we face and to see how he could help us in his role within government.”

Mr Hayes pledged to hold talks at 10 Downing Street with farmers, food producers, the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to see what action can be taken.

The MP said: “It was a very positive and very productive meeting about a lot of different things, one of which was the Groceries Code Adjudicator who has the responsibility of dealing with situations where farmers and growers aren’t getting a fair deal from the supermarkets.

“We also talked about flood defences along the coast and we’re planning a meeting with Defra at which I’ve agreed to take forward the argument that, essentially, we need substantial improvements to the sea defences.”