Cutbacks raise farmland flood risk, says union

Farmland in Wales could be at greater risk of flooding after three internal drainage boards (IDB) are abolished next spring, NFU Cymru has warned.

The boards at Caldicot and Wentlooge Levels, Powysland and Lower Wye will be absorbed into Natural Resources Wales next April. This has sparked concern that local knowledge of flooding risk could be lost, too.

NFU Cymru and the Association of Drainage Authorities want the Welsh government to consider creating non-executive committees incorporating landowners and local authority members to recommend future works programmes to NRW for all water level management and flood defence work. The areas they are most concerned about are the Gwent levels, lower Wye Valley, Powys rivers and lowlands around the north-west coast of Wales.

See also: MPs urge Defra to protect farmland from flooding

The new committees could help mitigate flood risk and help with conservation too, said Nigel Bowyer, NFU Cymru county chairman for Monmouthshire.

“Lowlands such as the Gwent Levels need careful water management to help them flourish for agriculture, the environment and the communities that live there,’’ Mr Bowyer said.

“Farmers have provided local knowledge to internal drainage boards for generations and their expertise must not be lost in the future. That is why we want to ensure that farmers continue to get a voice in the management of these districts following the dissolution of internal drainage boards in Wales next year,” he added.

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