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Farmers outraged after EA sells off dredging equipment

The Environment Agency is in the process of selling off dredging equipment which could be used to relieve the flooding crisis, Farmers Guardian has learned.

Olivia   Midgley

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Olivia   Midgley
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Machinery buyers contacted FG after seeing equipment being ‘sold off cheap’ at auction.

 

Cranes which can be mounted onto barges for dredging and large diggers are among the equipment which has gone under the hammer over the last few weeks.

 

The next lot, which includes a long-reach excavator able to remove large quantities of earth and material from underwater, was due to be auctioned off at Brightwells action house near Hereford tomorrow (Friday).

 

However the lot has recently been taken off the website.

 

A message on the site said: “We have been instructed by the seller to withdraw lots 649, 650 and 651 on behalf of the seller. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

 

Livestock farmer Jeremy Perkins, who moderates The Farming Forum online message board, said farmers were rightly outraged.

 

“Brightwells sold one digger for £47,000 in December which was bad enough,” he said.

 

“I’ve been told by a machinery company the new list price would be £130,000.

 

“The equipment may have come off the online catalogue for now but it is obvious the Environment Agency has no use for it.

 

“We’ve been told this digger was put up for sale because it was ‘past its service life’, but it has only done 3,000 hours of service. That is like saying a car with 30,000 miles on the clock is no use any more.”

 

It comes after the Prime Minister pledged a £100m package to deliver aid to devastated communities.

 

Thousands of hectares of land on the Somerset Levels are now submerged and flooding has caused chaos with areas of Worcester, Devon and Cornwall and Wales being worst hit.

 

“Even if they are not using them now they should be keeping them in reserve,” added Mr Perkins.

 

“David Cameron will have to spend all the money all over again, and what for?”

 

“I think it is quite unbelievable that they are selling off assets cheap when we have this enormous crisis going on in the south west.”

 

The Environment Agency said the sales did not affect its capacity to dredge as contractors will be carrying out the work ‘as planned’.

 


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