Farm underwater, flood reservoir dry: Lincolnshire farmer calls for compensation

  • Amelia Beckett reports

A farmer and a pub landlord say they are at risk of going out of business due to repeated flooding in their area.

The land around Short Ferry near Lincoln has flooded three times since October, costing farmers thousands of pounds in lost revenue, while the local pub has seen a drastic fall in its number of customers.

Farmer Henry Ward says he is now struggling to make ends meet due to the frequent flooding.

"Crops ruined, livelihood ruined, it's seriously stressful," said Mr Ward.

"How am I meant to support my family, make a living, with a farm looking like this?"

Henry says he would rather have his farm flooded than people's homes, but cannot do it for free.

He is calling on the Environment Agency to compensate him to use the land as flood water storage rather than taking the hit himself.

"Let's work together, lets do something pro-active and positive, let's use this farm to store water on to protect peoples houses, because I don't want to see people's houses flooding," said Mr Ward.

"But we can't do it for free. We need a proper arrangement in place, and at the minute I feel like the Environment Agency are just lifting my leg."

Around 2,000 acres of Mr Ward's farm is currently flooded, but right next to it is a designated flood water storage area which is currently almost completely dry.

Pub landlord Rob Hardman says the road closure in place due to flooding means it is not worth him opening on Mondays and Tuesdays now.

Rob Hardman's pub business has seen a dramatic fall in trade due to an ongoing road closure.

"My family has been in the pub trade since 1955," said Mr Hardman.

"I was the first one to have to lock the doors with [the Covid pandemic] lockdown and that was bad enough.

"Now it feels like we've got our own little lockdown every winter now," he said.

"This part of the county just feels like it's been abandoned."

In a statement, an Environment Agency spokesperson said: "There has been no active decision to flood farmland to protect property and we are working with landowners to drain areas that have been flooded.

“Given the current water levels on the Lower Witham, we do not believe that using the reservoirs early would stop flooding of farmland in this catchment.”

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