'Two years of misery ahead' is grim flooding prediction

Oxford Mail: David Cameron visits farmer Tim Hook at his flooded fields near Bampton Buy this photo David Cameron visits farmer Tim Hook at his flooded fields near Bampton

A FARMER told the Prime Minister yesterday the floods will hit incomes in the agriculture industry for the next two years.

David Cameron was given a tour of Cote Lodge Farm, near Bampton, yesterday afternoon where he met Tim Hook and saw the impact the past month’s rain has had in his Witney constituency.

The PM hoped there would be help for farmers in Oxfordshire affected by the flooding – and accepted criticisms not enough waterways had been dredged in recent years.

Standing in one of flooded fields as they were battered by wind and rain, Mr Hook told Mr Cameron damage to thousands of acres of crops in the county will take until at least the winter of 2015 to recover. And he confided he is facing a substantial loss to his business.

Mr Hook said the PM made no specific promises to him, but said he hoped he would consider some of the ideas he put forward.

Mr Cameron told the Oxford Mail farmers in the county could benefit from a £10m pot that was being put aside to help farmers across the UK.

Mr Cameron said: “First of all, we have got to get back to sensible use of dredging. The pendulum has swung too far against dredging in the late 1990s, but we will change that.

He said there had been some dredging, such as under the bridge on Bridge Street in Witney.

“Actually the reasons why Witney has not flooded nearly as bad as last time is that, this time, dredging was done under the bridge,” he said.

“So more dredging is part of the answer.

“We are also going to provide this £10m fund to provide farmers like Mr Hook, whose farm has been under water for week after week, and sadly year after year.

“The £10m is for farmers across the country and it is there to help farmers who have land under water and make the land good again when the water has receded. I think Oxfordshire will get help.

“Thames Valley has been one of the worst affected areas and farmers have had to put up with their land being covered in water week after week.”

Mr Cameron also said yesterday he may ask the European Union to pick up some of the bill to deal with the nation’s flooding problems.

He said there were drawbacks to the European Solidarity Fund, but promised to “look at it” after a cabinet row broke out over whether or not to ask for cash.

But Mr Hook said more needed to be done to dredge waterways.

He said: “He listened to our concerns and issues about how we are struggling and he seemed to get the point I was trying to get across. We just hope there will be action and he will carry through with our ideas.

“We need better management of the major watercourses – desilting, some dredging, culvert cleaning – which has been absent for 30 years.”

He added: “We expect flooding for about two to three weeks a year, but when it is standing for eight weeks and longer, it becomes very difficult for us.”

Farmers across Oxfordshire agreed with the sentiment.

Paul Caudwell, from Cross Trees Farm, in Sutton Courtenay, said he had met his MP Ed Vaizey to talk about how he has around 200 acres of flooded farmland.

“When you are growing arable crops like wheat, if it’s under water for more than 10 days it’s dead, that’s it,” he said. “We have probably lost around 180 acres of wheat and we are just going to have to take that hit.”

Oxford Mail:

  • Major Rob Futter, with Ian Hudspeth, centre, Oxfordshire County Council leader, and Matthew Barber, Vale of White Horse Council leader, oversee the work

TROOPS HELP PUT UP FLOOD BARRIERS

WORK started last night on a 750m-long concrete wall in South Hinksey to hold back the water.

Eighty military personnel were deployed to South Hinksey from Dalton Barracks to help move the 2.5-tonne blocks into place along the southern side of the village.

Environment Agency staff are co-ordinating the operation from a temporary command centre in the village hall and work is expected to last until tomorrow.

Oxford Mail:

  • The troops get to work

Firefighters are also at the scene to pump water out of the village, over the metre-high wall, if necessary.

As a result of the operation, the Devil’s Backbone pathway will be closed and a brook will have to be dammed.

Comments (8)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:10am Sat 15 Feb 14

the wizard says...

So Cameron has said he is going to approach the EU for some funding to help the farmers through this flooding crisis. This crisis brought about by lack of dredging since the water industry was sold off by Government into private hands, oh and is this the same EU that all the Tories so badly want to leave, yet here they are with the begging bowl, hypocrites.
So Cameron has said he is going to approach the EU for some funding to help the farmers through this flooding crisis. This crisis brought about by lack of dredging since the water industry was sold off by Government into private hands, oh and is this the same EU that all the Tories so badly want to leave, yet here they are with the begging bowl, hypocrites. the wizard
  • Score: 1

10:34am Sat 15 Feb 14

carfax says...

So it has been 30 years without proper bsaic maintenance (dredging, desilting, etc) of waterways ... so that would be the late Margaret Thatcher, alumni of Oxford University, who cut the Environment Agency Budget during her time putting UK finances in order ... budget cuts that it appears were never reversed. So all politicians since ~1980, especially those in charge during our boom years, are guilty of disregarding the important role of the Environment Agency, including their historic teams of volunteers, and allowing the contributary causes of flooding to remain unchecked. Thanks one and all. Environment Agency please speak up about your budgets - what level would make it, adjusted for inflation,etc) equivalent to 1979 levels? That would be a starting point.
So it has been 30 years without proper bsaic maintenance (dredging, desilting, etc) of waterways ... so that would be the late Margaret Thatcher, alumni of Oxford University, who cut the Environment Agency Budget during her time putting UK finances in order ... budget cuts that it appears were never reversed. So all politicians since ~1980, especially those in charge during our boom years, are guilty of disregarding the important role of the Environment Agency, including their historic teams of volunteers, and allowing the contributary causes of flooding to remain unchecked. Thanks one and all. Environment Agency please speak up about your budgets - what level would make it, adjusted for inflation,etc) equivalent to 1979 levels? That would be a starting point. carfax
  • Score: 3

2:02pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

The odd thing is there's always a spokesperson available from the notorious Oxford(shire) wing of the CPRE to express fears about building in urban Oxford.

But utter silence when it comes to the day-to-day affairs of the farming and rural community.
The odd thing is there's always a spokesperson available from the notorious Oxford(shire) wing of the CPRE to express fears about building in urban Oxford. But utter silence when it comes to the day-to-day affairs of the farming and rural community. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -4

4:40pm Sat 15 Feb 14

Bicester retired says...

carfax wrote:
So it has been 30 years without proper bsaic maintenance (dredging, desilting, etc) of waterways ... so that would be the late Margaret Thatcher, alumni of Oxford University, who cut the Environment Agency Budget during her time putting UK finances in order ... budget cuts that it appears were never reversed. So all politicians since ~1980, especially those in charge during our boom years, are guilty of disregarding the important role of the Environment Agency, including their historic teams of volunteers, and allowing the contributary causes of flooding to remain unchecked. Thanks one and all. Environment Agency please speak up about your budgets - what level would make it, adjusted for inflation,etc) equivalent to 1979 levels? That would be a starting point.
The Environmental Agency (EA) has an annual budget of approximately £850 million. Where did the money go ? It has 11200 staff, the second largest in the world, just smaller than its counterpart in the USA with 15913 staff but EA manages a very much smaller area in comparison. Last year, it spent about £600 million on staff salary and pension and £220 million on capital projects, of which only £20 million on maintaining rivers. £2.7 million was spent on PR.

In the flooded Somerset, the EA allocated £31 million for a bird sanctuary but could not afford £4 million for dredging the river. In the flooded Thames area, the river was not dredged in case a rare mollusc was disturbed.

Moreover, the EA was advised by our Met Office who always maintain that we are going to have milder and dryer winters in the coming future because of climate change and accordingly flooding would seem very unlikely so dredging rivers to prevent flooding would be a waste of money.

As long as the EA and Met Office are living in their own world of fantasy, no amount of money can solve our existing problems.
[quote][p][bold]carfax[/bold] wrote: So it has been 30 years without proper bsaic maintenance (dredging, desilting, etc) of waterways ... so that would be the late Margaret Thatcher, alumni of Oxford University, who cut the Environment Agency Budget during her time putting UK finances in order ... budget cuts that it appears were never reversed. So all politicians since ~1980, especially those in charge during our boom years, are guilty of disregarding the important role of the Environment Agency, including their historic teams of volunteers, and allowing the contributary causes of flooding to remain unchecked. Thanks one and all. Environment Agency please speak up about your budgets - what level would make it, adjusted for inflation,etc) equivalent to 1979 levels? That would be a starting point.[/p][/quote]The Environmental Agency (EA) has an annual budget of approximately £850 million. Where did the money go ? It has 11200 staff, the second largest in the world, just smaller than its counterpart in the USA with 15913 staff but EA manages a very much smaller area in comparison. Last year, it spent about £600 million on staff salary and pension and £220 million on capital projects, of which only £20 million on maintaining rivers. £2.7 million was spent on PR. In the flooded Somerset, the EA allocated £31 million for a bird sanctuary but could not afford £4 million for dredging the river. In the flooded Thames area, the river was not dredged in case a rare mollusc was disturbed. Moreover, the EA was advised by our Met Office who always maintain that we are going to have milder and dryer winters in the coming future because of climate change and accordingly flooding would seem very unlikely so dredging rivers to prevent flooding would be a waste of money. As long as the EA and Met Office are living in their own world of fantasy, no amount of money can solve our existing problems. Bicester retired
  • Score: 5

11:23am Sun 16 Feb 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Sorry but thats not true, Bicester retired. The EA built a new flood barrier/sea defence behind the old one in Somerset - and the area in between happens to be a nature reserve. Also the EA in this country has far more responsibilities than its counterparts in other countries, where much more is devolved to regional and local authorities.

The fantasy that many politicians are hiding behind is that there is a simple answer to extreme weather. Dredging often means more flooding downstream. At least now this seems to be a wake up call that climate change is a serious matter and needs to be urgently addressed on may fronts.
Sorry but thats not true, Bicester retired. The EA built a new flood barrier/sea defence behind the old one in Somerset - and the area in between happens to be a nature reserve. Also the EA in this country has far more responsibilities than its counterparts in other countries, where much more is devolved to regional and local authorities. The fantasy that many politicians are hiding behind is that there is a simple answer to extreme weather. Dredging often means more flooding downstream. At least now this seems to be a wake up call that climate change is a serious matter and needs to be urgently addressed on may fronts. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: -1

11:27am Sun 16 Feb 14

Patrick, Devon says...

Oh, and should mention that the Thames has many locks and weirs, making dredging irrelevant in most stretches. You shouldnt listen to the nonsense that UKIP are spouting about moluscs and the EU.
Oh, and should mention that the Thames has many locks and weirs, making dredging irrelevant in most stretches. You shouldnt listen to the nonsense that UKIP are spouting about moluscs and the EU. Patrick, Devon
  • Score: 3

12:47pm Sun 16 Feb 14

Bicester retired says...

Patrick, Devon wrote:
Sorry but thats not true, Bicester retired. The EA built a new flood barrier/sea defence behind the old one in Somerset - and the area in between happens to be a nature reserve. Also the EA in this country has far more responsibilities than its counterparts in other countries, where much more is devolved to regional and local authorities.

The fantasy that many politicians are hiding behind is that there is a simple answer to extreme weather. Dredging often means more flooding downstream. At least now this seems to be a wake up call that climate change is a serious matter and needs to be urgently addressed on may fronts.
The recent flooding is an undeniable proof that the EA has failed its duty to protect vulnerable areas from flooding. It has been raining for quite some time before flooding and flooding also occurred in recent years. Why didn't the EA take precautionary measures to relieve the extent of flooding ? Why did the EA bring in the Dutch pumps so late ? Why didn't the EA install more powerful pumps in the first place ? Everyone has got a lot of responsibilities but what are the priorities? Can you name some works done successfully by EA that are more important than flood prevention ?

Climate has been changing for billion of years. Just tell me what you want us, the ordinary people, to do to tackle climate change. Can you stop the rain or storm from coming ? There have been no scientific studies so far that can tell us that we humans can change the climate. Even when we can stop CO2 from rising or even when we can actually reduce it, the climate will keep on changing, regardless. The UNIPCC AR5 has not connected extreme weather with climate change. It is the politicians who use climate change as an excuse to cover their uselessness and failures. Climate change is so abstract that no one seems to understand what it is all about. To be honest, do you really believe that you can do something to affect climate change ? If yes, please name a few.
[quote][p][bold]Patrick, Devon[/bold] wrote: Sorry but thats not true, Bicester retired. The EA built a new flood barrier/sea defence behind the old one in Somerset - and the area in between happens to be a nature reserve. Also the EA in this country has far more responsibilities than its counterparts in other countries, where much more is devolved to regional and local authorities. The fantasy that many politicians are hiding behind is that there is a simple answer to extreme weather. Dredging often means more flooding downstream. At least now this seems to be a wake up call that climate change is a serious matter and needs to be urgently addressed on may fronts.[/p][/quote]The recent flooding is an undeniable proof that the EA has failed its duty to protect vulnerable areas from flooding. It has been raining for quite some time before flooding and flooding also occurred in recent years. Why didn't the EA take precautionary measures to relieve the extent of flooding ? Why did the EA bring in the Dutch pumps so late ? Why didn't the EA install more powerful pumps in the first place ? Everyone has got a lot of responsibilities but what are the priorities? Can you name some works done successfully by EA that are more important than flood prevention ? Climate has been changing for billion of years. Just tell me what you want us, the ordinary people, to do to tackle climate change. Can you stop the rain or storm from coming ? There have been no scientific studies so far that can tell us that we humans can change the climate. Even when we can stop CO2 from rising or even when we can actually reduce it, the climate will keep on changing, regardless. The UNIPCC AR5 has not connected extreme weather with climate change. It is the politicians who use climate change as an excuse to cover their uselessness and failures. Climate change is so abstract that no one seems to understand what it is all about. To be honest, do you really believe that you can do something to affect climate change ? If yes, please name a few. Bicester retired
  • Score: 2

9:32am Tue 18 Feb 14

Severian says...

What these farmers haven't mentioned is WHY they farm this land - because it has good soil, built up over many years helped in part by regular flooding which adds fresh nutrients to the soil. Flooding of flood plains is part of nature.

And for all those people asking what the EA is doing - what would you prefer? The people in Datchet want MORE flooding upstream to protect THEIR homes, the people in Oxon want more dredging so the people in Datchet get flooded more quickly. There's no point dredging the Thames north of Oxford, because then the water will reach Abingdon Road all the more quickly. There's no point dredging south of Oxford because there are locks and weirs on the river to control the flow. I also suggest you ask about the flood barriers in Osney Mead - who puts them up?

Some people need to accept the reality of the situation - we had a HUGE amount of rain, and over the many years people have built houses and farm buildings in areas susceptible to flooding. They are easy to find - they're the really flat bits next to rivers.
What these farmers haven't mentioned is WHY they farm this land - because it has good soil, built up over many years helped in part by regular flooding which adds fresh nutrients to the soil. Flooding of flood plains is part of nature. And for all those people asking what the EA is doing - what would you prefer? The people in Datchet want MORE flooding upstream to protect THEIR homes, the people in Oxon want more dredging so the people in Datchet get flooded more quickly. There's no point dredging the Thames north of Oxford, because then the water will reach Abingdon Road all the more quickly. There's no point dredging south of Oxford because there are locks and weirs on the river to control the flow. I also suggest you ask about the flood barriers in Osney Mead - who puts them up? Some people need to accept the reality of the situation - we had a HUGE amount of rain, and over the many years people have built houses and farm buildings in areas susceptible to flooding. They are easy to find - they're the really flat bits next to rivers. Severian
  • Score: 8

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree