Sutton Bridge farmer at forefront of flood defence campaign

Farmers and landowners mark the anniversary of the  2013 tidal surge: from left - Nicola Currie of CLA, NFU county adviser Simon Fisher, Simon Disley, NFU branch chairman Stafford Proctor and vice-chairman Gavin Lane.Photo: SG011214-111TW
Farmers and landowners mark the anniversary of the 2013 tidal surge: from left - Nicola Currie of CLA, NFU county adviser Simon Fisher, Simon Disley, NFU branch chairman Stafford Proctor and vice-chairman Gavin Lane.Photo: SG011214-111TW
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A Sutton Bridge farmer is at the forefront of a campaign to safeguard against major flooding in this area.

Stafford Proctor, who chairs the Wash Frontagers’ Group (WFG), is one of a group of farmers calling for a strategic approach to sea defences.

He and other farmers and landowners met at Vernatt’s Sluice at Surfleet Seas End on the first anniversary of the 2013 tidal surge. To emphasise their point, they stood on a footbridge that was under water in last year’s deluge.

Stafford said: “The Wash sea defences protect some of our most productive farmland, which in turn supports a massive food production, processing and packing industry, thousands of jobs and vital infrastructure of huge enonomic importance.

“Last year’s tidal surge showed just how vulnerable our land, homes, businesses and the whole area is to sea water inundation. In Boston alone, 700 homes and businesses were affected. Just think what the effect of a massive inundation would have on the economy of the whole Fen region. It would be devastating.

“The Somerset floods had a serious impact but they would look like a drop in the ocean compared to what would happen to the fens. What we need is a strategic partnership approach to protecting homes, businesses, jobs, roads and farmland that in the next ten years would see all this economically important activity protected by raising the sea defences where it is most needed.

“The Frontagers’ Group will be meeting with local MPs, our county and district councils and government partners in the coming months to discuss how we can better protect the land, homes and businesses behind the sea defences.

“We’ll also be seeking a meeting with Defra Secretary of State Liz Truss to emphasise how important we feel this project is.”