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Farmers could be paid 'millions' for flood mitigation

Farmers who allow their land to be flooded in order to mitigate flooding in other areas would be entitled to millions of pounds as part of a new scheme mooted by the National Trust and the Green Alliance.


Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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Farmers who allow their land to be flooded entitled to millions of pounds #Flooding

Farmers who allow their land to be flooded in order to mitigate flooding in other areas would be entitled to millions of pounds as part of a new scheme mooted by the National Trust and the Green Alliance.

 

The environmental groups’ new model for ‘green farming’ envisages groups of farmers working together to effectively sell flood protection and clean water to water companies and public authorities downstream

 

The so-called Natural Infrastructure Schemes could see savings for organisations currently facing high costs from poor water quality and flooding.

 

Green Alliance calculates the cost of river flooding and water contamination to water companies, local authorities, public agencies and infrastructure operators at just under £2.4 billion a year.

 

Contracting to avoid just a quarter of these costs could release as much as £120 million for each of England’s 100 catchments over a 20-year catchment scale scheme, according to the organisations’ joint report.

 

Sue Armstrong-Brown, policy director at Green Alliance, said: “The potential market for environmentally-beneficial farming could be worth millions – far more than the £400 million available to farmers through government agri-environment schemes. We need to make farming part of the way the environment is returned to health, and that means making good environmental management pay.”

 

Green Alliance and the National Trust will be working alongside landowners and businesses over the next 12 months and hope to introduce pilot Natural Infrastructure Schemes in the UK.

 

It comes after the National Trust’s calls last month to place the environment and not food production at the centre of any new agricultural policy.

 

CLA director of policy Christopher Price said it made sense for farmers and landowners, who already delivered environmental services such as reducing flood risk, to be rewarded.

 

“If we can connect, via markets and incentives, those who benefit with the land managers who do the work then there is a real opportunity to grow this type of work and to amplify the benefits it delivers,” he said.

 

NFU head of policy services Andrea Graham said the union welcomed such moves but highlighted the need for a ‘fit-for-purpose environmental scheme that builds on farming’s environmental role, allowing all farmers to care for the countryside and wildlife and mitigate climate change, alongside their core food production role’.


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