Agriculture and land management should feature in flood defence policy, says CLA

22 October 2013

Government policy on flood defence does not recognise agriculture, food production and land management, the CLA has warned.

The Association said a report on flood risk management published yesterday (31 January) by the Public Accounts Committee is right to highlight that the budget for flood defence is underfunded. However, it argued the report was short-sighted not to consider food production and land management.

CLA Deputy President Henry Robinson said: "We agree entirely with the Committee that there is not enough money available for defending homes and businesses against flooding. However, the lack of a full assessment of the economic contribution of agriculture, land management and food production to the local economy is already having a serious impact on rural communities.

"We understand funding has to be more targeted but those involved with formulating a government policy on flood defence must begin to recognise the importance of land-based rural businesses, especially in light of increased population growth and climate change."

Mr Robinson added: "Currently, the Environment Agency is only meeting its statutory requirements when implementing a government policy. This means it is not considering the economic contribution of food production and land-based businesses in any consultation process."

Read the Commons Public Accounts Committee report on Flood Risk Management in England