Farmers have called on the government to review how environmental restrictions are stopping them from managing watercourses to help prevent flooding.

At the end of a heated debate at the NFU conference on Wednesday (25 February) about the flooding crisis, outgoing NFU president Peter Kendall said there was a recurring theme that “the environment seems to come before drainage”.

After the debate, Cumbrian sheep farmer John Geldard, who is also chairman of the National Sheep Association (NSA), gave his views on accusations from farmers that the Environment Agency has been “putting the needs of wildlife before people” when it comes to flood defence work.