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Westcountry MP argues for farmers to be paid to store water

Water spilling out of the River Tone onto the Somerset Levels, is not an unusual sight to see. Photo: ITV West Country

The question of whether farmers should be compensated for holding water back to prevent flooding has been raised by Westcountry MP Neil Parish.

The Tiverton and Honiton MP is chairman of an influential environment committee.

He says farmers could be paid to hold water or plant trees.

Heather Venn has a hundred acres of farmland on the Somerset Levels that is deliberately flooded every year.

Credit: ITV West Country

But Heather isn't paid for her land to be used as a reservoir - she says she'd welcome payment.

The banks of the River Tone were lowered decades ago to take pressure off the Tone and River Parrett.

At the other end of the vast lake a manmade wall holds the water back, protecting Bridgwater.

The idea of paying farmers to store the excess water could prevent scenes like these. Credit: ITV West Country

The idea of paying farmers to store water on their land isn't a new one - but with political backing, there may be the will to turn the idea into reality.