The government must encourage more joined-up thinking to prevent further devastating floods, with dredging only part of the solution, the CLA has warned.
Speaking at the Royal Cornwall Show on 5 June, CLA president Henry Robinson said some farmland on the Somerset Levels had been flooded for nine of the past 18 months.
“It’s an environmental, as well as an agricultural disaster,” he said. Treasury rules that dredging required an 8:1 payback – compared to 1:1 for high-speed railways – were also ludicrous and had resulted in years of neglect by the Environment Agency (EA).
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“Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) are largely run by farmers and get value for money in a way that the EA doesn’t,” said Mr Robinson.
“Each river catchment is different, and we need more joined-up thinking between farmers, the EA and IDBs. And if you’re going to flood our land you’ve got to pay for it, because it’s providing a public good by protecting towns from flooding.”