Allow landowners to ‘slow the flow’ before next flooding comes, says CLA

19 February 2016

The CLA has told MPs that a new approach to flood prevention should be implemented now – before rather than after the next flood event – so that rural land can help ‘slow the flow’ of flood water.

The organisation represents 33,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales. It told a Committee of MPs leading an inquiry into future flood prevention that better co-ordination between Defra and the Environment Agency, and better use of resources to deliver catchment level water management plans, would have prevented the flooding this winter from affecting so many people with such severity.

CLA President Ross Murray said: “The devastating impacts of floods in recent years have shown very clearly that the Government’s current approach to water management is just not working. Government should be taking action now to incentivise landowners to ‘slow the flow’ by changing how they use their land or sacrificing it for flood water storage when necessary. The time to put this new approach in place is now – before rather than after homes and communities are hit by another major flood.

“Rural landowners want to be a part of the solution, but the right support and incentives need to be in place that will allow those willing to store flood water or put in place measures designed to slow its flow. Government investment in water management in recent years has been frustratingly piecemeal and it is high time that the resources available were deployed in a more joined up way, by looking at how best to manage the threats and benefits of a river at a catchment level.

“As flooding becomes more likely across the country, it is a time for leadership and crucial decisions. We look forward to supporting Ministers in delivering this in the weeks and months ahead."