6 November 2000
More flood misery to come

By FWi staff

YET more rain looks set to bring fresh misery for farmers already swamped by floodwaters.

The Environment Agency reports more flooding is expected across the country as heavy rain coming in from the Atlantic spread from the west.

The band of rain could strike the whole of England and Wales and bring 35-40mm in 24 hours in most areas, reports BBC Online.

Severe flood warnings were announced on Monday for the River Rother in East Sussex, the Western Rother in west Sussex and the River Beult in Kent.

A further 66 flood warnings remained in force in England and Wales.

Meteorologists warn that even after the rain stops, there will be the delayed effect of water coming down from the hills.

In the Midlands parts of the River Severn are at critical levels, but the front is expected to slow as it crosses northern England.

Here the Ouse, Derwent and Aire are all dangerously swollen.

Last week, National Farmers Union president Ben Gill estimated that damage to cereal crops could cost farmers 300 million as yields may fall by 5 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, The Independent reports that experts warned the Government five months ago that it needed to increase spending on flood defences by 50% annually.

The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, said expenditure on around 200m a year should be raised to between 300m and 340m.

Without this, claimed water engineering consultants Halcrow Marine and HR Wallingford, annual flood damage could treble to 1.8bn.

The study, done in co-operation with the Flood Hazard Research centre at the University of Middlesex, said 12% of agricultural land was under threat.

For latest updates on the situation contact the Environment Agency Floodline on 0845 988 1188.