The story about an £8m boost for flood defences (February 8) appears to be good news for some but as we know, or should know, flood defences only move the problem on to someone else.

You only have to look around the county to see the fields flooded. There are hundreds if not thousands of acres of farmland still not planted from last autumn because the land is too wet for farmers to work on, and the few which did get planted are probably ruined by flood water.

This £8m of taxpayers’ money being spent comes with no mention of flood prevention. The biggest cause of flooding other than the amount of rain falling is the state of the rivers. They are ultimately our main drainage system and if they cannot flow unobstructed, the water cannot get away.

I keep hearing one reason that the rivers are not dredged is because of the wildlife. This is as much rubbish as the rubbish blocking the rivers.

How did the wildlife manage in the days when rivers were maintained? If the rivers were cleared of all the fallen trees and dredged, this would allow the rivers to not only flow but they would also be cleaner and healthier for the wildlife to live.

At the same time this would help to prevent flooding, not just properties but farmland as well.

This would also help farmers get on and grow much-needed food and there would be no need for flood defences.

The £8m would pay for the river clean-up, clear all the blocked drains and help prevent roads flooding, which in turn could help to cut road accidents and hold-ups caused by flooded roads – everyone gains!

KEITH BROOKS, Gateley, Horspath, Oxford