New flood and water management act to hit farmers

The new Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is likely to have a significant impact on farming operations, especially on low lying land or where there is a farm reservoir or man-made lake, according to legal firm Burges Salmon.

One of the Act’s central objectives is to shift the emphasis away from flood defence to ‘flood and coastal erosion risk management’, a concept which allows rural land to flood to protect urban centres.

The National Farmers Union has pointed out that 57% of Grade 1 agricultural land is low lying land (below the five metre contour) and it highlights the potential conflict between flood risk management and food security.

The Act also modifies the regulation of reservoirs and will bring many more into the regulatory regime, including many farm reservoirs.

Farmers and private landowners will be required to produce detailed information on their reservoirs (which could be costly) even if they pose minimal risk to human life.

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