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    NFU backs new trial to tackle flood maintenance

    NewsThursday 25 July 2013
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    The NFU has announced that it is backing new trials that are aiming to help farmers when it comes to dealing with flood risks. The proposed trials will unburden farmers of bureaucracy when they are undertaking low-risk watercourse maintenance activities to help reduce flood risks. 
     
    Richard Benyon, the Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, confirmed in a letter to stakeholders that there would be the development of a more streamlined flood consenting system by the middle of 2015. 
     
    These proposals will be trialled on the main rivers, which are those regulated by the Environment Agency, in seven pilot areas and they will start this autumn. 
     
    The union will be working with farmers as well as the Environment Agency, Natural England and Internal Drainage Boards in order to promote the trials and raise awareness of how to undertake maintenance. 
     
    NFU Deputy President, Meurig Raymond said: “There are many situations where farmers are able to carry out maintenance of watercourses, and we have been calling for a simpler system for them to get consent to do so. I am therefore pleased that the Ministers announcement goes a long way towards delivering that.
     
    “The damage and losses suffered in last year’s floods remain only too clearly in the minds of many farmers. These trials will help those who are in a position to undertake dredging or other maintenance; but it will also be important that Environment Agency funding is available where it is appropriate.”
     
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