Suffolk farmer warns 'it is a waiting game' to see how much damage Storm Babet has caused

Farmers say it is a "waiting game" to see the true extent and cost of the damage they have suffered following Storm Babet.

There was widespread flooding in parts of Suffolk, with a major incident declared in the county on 20 October as persistent rain and high winds caused flooding and major disruption.

Glenn Buckingham runs Helmingham Estate Farms near Stowmarket.

"It's too wet to do anything with the land here at the moment and then we'll see how much of our wheat crop emerges," he told ITV News Anglia. 

"We sowed this about four days before the rainfall event and that sheer amount of water just squashes the soil, takes the air out and spoils some of the seed. 

"We are waiting to see."

Homes and businesses were flooded during the storm, with Suffolk declaring a major incident. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Parts of Suffolk saw two months' rainfall in the space of just four days as a result of Storm Babet.

Mr Buckingham was one of several farmers using his tractor to rescue people from the flood waters.

He warned that the impact on next year's harvest comes on top of what is already an expensive year due to rising costs in fuel and fertiliser.

The National Farmers Union is now calling on the government to do more.

"I think it's a clear sign that our water infrastructure is not working," said Minette Batters, the president of the NFU.

"Watercourse maintenance, river maintenance - if they are not being maintained, that water, when it lands, just can't get away.

"That's our call to the government... time has run out, we've got to do this differently."

Giving evidence to the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee last week, Environment Secretary and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey suggested the damage done by Storm Babet was harder to predict because rain came in from the east.

She told MPs a “rapid review” would be conducted after highlighting that some flood-hit areas felt they could have been given more pumps to stop them from becoming submerged.

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