Welsh farmers have spoken of their angst after flooding in the Dysynni Valley has left much of their farmland ‘worthless’.
The water blockage at sites across the valley and the River Dysynni from a late-August downpour stunted farm production when the drainage system failed to reduce rising water levels.
The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) has kick-started the fight for an emergency response to the extreme weather as farmers have been left paying a statutory drainage rate to Natural Resource Wales (NRW) as part of its internal drainage districts (IDD) in Meirionnydd.
FUW Meirionnydd chief executive Huw Jones said local MP Liz Saville Roberts was aware it was a ‘matter of urgency’.
He said: “I am pleased to inform our members a letter has now been sent from the office Liz Saville Roberts to NRW asking them to address the problems our members are facing, including a comprehensive list of jobs that need to be carried out immediately.”
Standing water has been left in several fields and there is evidence of environmental deterioration, with a weak water flow leaving flooded ditch beds and mature weed growth and vegetation.
Mr Jones criticised the failure of NRW to keep on top of system maintenance, which he said despite being described as a ‘masterpiece of 19th century engineering’, was struggling.
“It is clear there are serious shortcomings in the system which has culminated in the situation we are in today,” Mr Jones added.
“The damage caused by the flooding can be reversed, meaning our members can make full use of their fields again, however it depends entirely on the work being carried out correctly and as soon as possible.”
NRW operations manager Keith Ivens said the annual programme of maintenance was reviewed and agreed with the IDD advisory group, but the current level of funding only allowed maintenance work once a year.
He added: “We understand farmers’ concerns and the impacts this has on their livelihoods, and we will continue to work with landowners and the FUW to make sure the work is carried out in the most effective way.”