The Cumbria Flood Action Plan sets out the short-term actions which will see 4,300 homes in the region better protected, as well as the long-term actions which aim to see local organisations and communities working in partnership to develop better ways of managing rivers and the land.
CLA North regional surveyor and Cumbria Floods Partnership member Robert Frewen, said he welcomed the paper’s repeated reference to working with farmers and landowners in the area, but that any plan must be coupled with long term certainty of funding.
“EU funded Countryside Stewardship will not provide this,” said Mr Frewen.
“This report is a welcome first step but there is still a long way to go if we want to see any deliverable measures for farmers and landowners to contribute to flood alleviation.
“Farmers and landowners want to play their part in reducing the risk of flooding but there is a lack of detail in this paper as to how it can happen.”
The Environment Agency has published three documents on Gov.uk to help communicate its plan which has five main themes; strengthening defences, upstream management, maintenance, resilience and water level management boards.
NFU North West’s environment and land use adviser Alice Richards said while the paper was ‘just the start of the process’, there were many positive suggested actions including the removal of 70,000 tonnes of gravel from river channels.
NFU North West regional director David Hall, who has worked with the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to ensure adequate funding was made available for the recovery of farmland after the flooding, said he would continue to ensure farmers were included as the plan developed during the implementation stages.
It came as NFU Scotland welcomed the launch of a free permit from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)for land managers to reduce erosion of river banks using a mix of trees, stone, and willow planting to protect and stabilise the banks.
SEPA and NFU Scotland will be working together to promote the use of these bank protection techniques and supporting a number of demonstration sites around the country.