A Yorkshire farmer has been paid thousands of pounds in compensation after his local authority deliberately flooded his land in order to protect homes following heavy rain.
The landmark case is the first under the Land Drainage Act 1991 and could set a precedent for similar cases where councils sacrifice farmland.
Robert Lindley, who farms in Burton Fleming, Driffield, brought the case against East Riding of Yorkshire Council with support from the NFU and NFU Mutual following the 2012 flooding which badly damaged his carrot crop.
The High Court hearing was told the council pumped water into Cottage Field, part of Mr Lindley’s 271ha farm when heavy rain fall caused several homes to be flooded.
Denying legal responsibility, East Yorkshire Riding Council argued most of the pumping was carried out by the fire service and the Environment Agency.
However, the judge ruled the council liable to pay full compensation for the devastated crop under the Land Drainage Act 1991.
Mr Lindley was awarded £14,500.
NFU director of policy Andrew Clark said: “It demonstrates the need for the flood authorities to be aware of the consequences of actively flooding farmland when carrying out flood risk management.
“It’s really vital to consider that many fields are used for food production and are the most important part of a farm business.”
Mr Lindley added: “We are happy with this judgment and sincerely hope that all relevant agencies and authorities work together in flooding situations to improve flood defences and how they deal with heavy rainfall situations.
"I have the deepest sympathy for farmers across the country affected by flooding.”
A spokesman for East Riding of Yorkshire Council said: "The council has not yet had sight of the final judgement, which we understand is due to be issued shortly by the Land Tribunal.
"On receipt of the judgement we will review the decision and take legal advice, as appropriate."