Memorandum submitted by Sir Peter Tapsell
MP (FL MP 14)
Thank you for your letter dated 24th July.
I did have an exchange of correspondence with
Anne McIntosh MP about the flooding of agricultural land.
However, although for each individual household
which is flooded it is a disaster for the family, the scale of
flooding in my constituency was fortunately in no way comparable
with Hull or the West Country.
I naturally visited many of the flooded properties
at the time and have since had much correspondence with the Environment
Agency and my local Councils, but I do not think that I have any
information or ideas to put to you that will not have already
reached you from many other sources.
There is, as you will have been told, a widespread
belief that drains and rivers are not kept as clear of obstruction
as they were some years ago before the Environment Agency assumed
responsibility for this. I have no way of checking on the truth
Secondly, it has been suggested to me that modern
agricultural methods, particularly because of fertilisers and
new machinery, have meant that many fields adjoining rivers which,
"in the old days", were regarded as water meadows and
could be used as flood plains (if locks were in place and working)
now have crops growing right to the river banks. Deliberately
to create potential flood plains above river from market towns
such as Louth and Horncastle (in my constituency) would be deeply
unpopular with farmers. This problem could, perhaps, be overcome
by paying the same subsidy for "water meadows" which
are kept permanently under grass for Summer grazing if the same
level of subsidy was paid to the farmer as for acreage growing
cereals or root crops?
Sir Peter Tapsell MP
Louth and Horncastle