Industry summit tackles future flood risk management

23 May 2022

Environment
An image of a river at the edge of a field

We co-hosted a summit on 12 May 2022 along with the ADA (Association of Drainage Authorities), the CLA and the Environment Agency to discuss the future of flood risk management.

The Keeping Our Rivers Flowing summit brought together farmers, land managers and flood management experts to discuss how flood storage and natural flood management can combine with river maintenance to reduce the risk of flooding.

It provided NFU members with an opportunity to put questions to Defra and the Environment Agency after hearing their plans for the future.

Defra presented plans for including natural flood management and river restoration in the new agricultural schemes, while the Environment Agency talked about its plans for the future of flood risk management. Concerns were raised over the increasing gap in funding when it comes to maintenance.

With 58% of the UK’s most productive and versatile land situated in the floodplain, flood risk management is vital to ensuring future food security.

Personal challenges

NFU Environment Forum chair Richard Bramley spoke about his own experience of flooding on farm. He talked about the challenges of dealing with the increasing frequency of flooding events and stressed the need to move beyond words to seeing real improvements on the ground.

Richard emphasised the need for a whole catchment approach when making decisions, and to use long-term planning to incorporate changes in weather and development.

He highlighted that farmers across the country are ready and willing to help alleviate the flood risk to communities. However, he stressed that any measures which call on farmers and land managers to allow their land to be used as a flood storage area must ensure proper recognition for the public goods provided and provide fair compensation.

Key messages

Some key points were agreed on the day.

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  • A catchment-based approach to management is key.
  • Collaboration and partnership working is vital.
  • They may be different ideas of how to get there, but it seems everyone is heading in the same direction. Focusing on the commonalities is key to driving action.

More information

To read more about our work and approach to flood management, download our Flooding Manifesto and our Integrated Water Management Strategy.

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