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Phil Latham: Short-sighted politics failed to see the inevitable floods

Last weekend we ran our first equine competition of the year with more than 200 horses coming to us over three days to compete in arena eventing or school their horses over the course afterwards.

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It was a great success though the weather made it challenging for competitors and helpers who got blasted by wind and rain.

 

The preparations of our young team really helped things run smoothly and it was great to see the satisfaction on their faces afterwards, though the red glow in their cheeks may have been more down to the wind.

 

The hydrangea and daffodils in our garden believe spring is coming but I think it is hiding just around the corner.

 

We have little to complain about compared to those faced with the awful floods. We have escaped with minor structural damage and about 50 pine trees down which we hope to turn into jumps for our Easter British Eventing competition. It had been a long time since we last saw winds so strong they tore huge limbs from our oaks.

 

Field conditions mean we are finding it hard to get on or off the ground at Brook House.

 

The tide is still coming in to the lagoon and I wish we had been better able to exploit the opportunities the dry autumn offered.

 

I was hoping to find some frogspawn this year so Sam could watch tadpoles develop but with so many floods I am not sure where to look.

 

Fortunately we have a dry farm at Organsdale and we are able to inject our neighbour’s pig slurry into our haylage leys and the roller has even made a brief appearance.

 

I wonder how many Environment Agency managers wish they could wind the clock back and do the basics now which were avoided for whatever budgetary or environmental reasons seemed prudent at the time.

 

This winter’s unprecedented rainfall is not an excuse given climate models have predicted extreme weather. I think the floods are a symptom of short-term political thinking. It is a pity farmers have to pay the price.

 

Proper preparation prevents poor performance is what we tell our team, and someone should be telling politicians the same.

 

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