Sutton Bridge farmer on flood risk

Stafford Proctor.
Stafford Proctor.
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Winter has arrived. Sugar beet is the last crop to harvest, rapidly followed by the plough, the wheat drill and herbicide application, writes Stafford Proctor.

It is also time to plan next year’s crops and develop the farming methods we use.

Friday marked the first anniversary of the 2013 tidal surge and flooding along the Wash coastline. It was a warning and showed that we need to improve our flood defences along the sea frontage and tidal river embankments. We have much to protect: people, communities, towns, the food industry, agriculture, nature, transport links as well as power generation and infrastructure.

The good news in this week’s Autumn Statement is that flood protection has been recognised with £2.3billion invested over six years to prevent more than £30billion of economic damage caused by flooding. Target areas include the Thames Estuary, the Humber Estuary and Boston Barrier (£73million).

Unfortunately greater Fenland is not yet included in the plans. The economic analysis and justification for improved flood defences needs to be developed by Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire stakeholders. The Humber Estuary proposals are well identified, funded, researched, prepared, promoted and achieved their objectives.

We all need to recognise the risks we face in the Fens from climate change, tidal surges and coastal and river flooding.

We must engage with politicians at all levels to secure the future prosperity of the Fens.