Farmers protest outside Environment Agency demanding the river be dredged

This is The West Country: Protesters gathered outside the Environment Agency's offices Protesters gathered outside the Environment Agency's offices

ANGRY farmers frustrated at how the flooding has been handled gathered outside the Environment Agency’s offices in Bridgwater to protest.

The farmers blocked the entrance to the building in West Quay on Friday, demanding that the River Parrett is dredged.

Among them was Michael Horsington, who said: “I’m so angry. Two-thirds of my farm is underwater.

“I’ve been farming 40 years and it has never been like this in living memory.”

Luke Brooker said: “We want the Environment Agency to dredge the river or the problem won’t go away.”

Not just farmers wanted to vent their anger – businesses have been affected by the flooding, too.

Darren Buckley, who works for Neil Craddock Wood Flooring, said: “They’ve been hopeless. There’s no information on what’s happening.

“You feel you’re on your own, so as a community we had to get together.”

Gary Walker, of Adam Chorley Cleaning and Maintenance, said: “I can’t get to work. Roads are cut off with 30-mile detours.

“I’m letting down my customers and it’s costing my business.”

Oliver Smart, 17, of Westonzoyland, who went to the protest to stick up for older people in his village, and said: “They said they would hand out sandbags, so I spent a whole day at home waiting.

“It turns out you had to go all the way to the community centre to collect them.

“It’s alright for someone like me because I’m young, but there are lots of elderly people who can’t drive who will struggle.”

Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who turned up to show support for the protest, believes the flooding this year is ominous for the future of Bridgwater.

He said: “We’ve been flooded in places we’ve never been flooded before – Sutton Mallet, Westonzoyland – and I worry that if water’s coming up where we didn’t expect it will we suddenly find it in Bridgwater?”

“There’s no way we can continue to cope with what we have to put up with at the moment and we’re asking for Government help because we can’t go on like this.

“I’m furious with the Environment Agency because they’ve failed us again.”

Paul Gayney, of the Agency, said: “Dredging is a solution, but it’s very expensive and wouldn’t solve the problem – even if we’d been dredging we’d still be flooding.”

“If we’re going to dredge we’ll have to do it regularly and we just can’t afford to do that.

“We have to work with what we’re given.

“The harsh reality is the funding isn’t there for us to do any dredging.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:22pm Tue 28 Jan 14

spider66 says...

hmm, if the Somerset coastline was hit by a tsunami would the government drag their heels to help us like they are over the flooding????
hmm, if the Somerset coastline was hit by a tsunami would the government drag their heels to help us like they are over the flooding???? spider66

3:25pm Tue 28 Jan 14

twinkles says...

I'm in no way an expert.

Someone explain to me how the rivers being dredged will help to move the water off the levels?

Surely the answer is that the landowners dredge their respective waterways (ditches, rhynes or whatever) and keep them clear, so the pumping stations can do what they do.

You could double the size of the Parrett and still face the same issue, there is too much water and it's not being moved.
I'm in no way an expert. Someone explain to me how the rivers being dredged will help to move the water off the levels? Surely the answer is that the landowners dredge their respective waterways (ditches, rhynes or whatever) and keep them clear, so the pumping stations can do what they do. You could double the size of the Parrett and still face the same issue, there is too much water and it's not being moved. twinkles

6:33am Wed 29 Jan 14

bygeorge says...

Paul Gayney, of the Agency, said: “Dredging is a solution, but it’s very expensive and wouldn’t solve the problem – even if we’d been dredging we’d still be flooding.”

“If we’re going to dredge we’ll have to do it regularly and we just can’t afford to do that.

“We have to work with what we’re given.
“The harsh reality is the funding isn’t there for us to do any dredging.”


Mr Gayney says "Dredging is a solution", He also says “The harsh reality is the funding isn’t there for us to do any dredging.”
But The agency has instead spent £20million on a coastal nature sanctuary, and run a programme encouraging farmers to flood their fields to promote birdlife at Steart.
Paul Gayney, of the Agency, said: “Dredging is a solution, but it’s very expensive and wouldn’t solve the problem – even if we’d been dredging we’d still be flooding.” “If we’re going to dredge we’ll have to do it regularly and we just can’t afford to do that. “We have to work with what we’re given. “The harsh reality is the funding isn’t there for us to do any dredging.” Mr Gayney says "Dredging is a solution", He also says “The harsh reality is the funding isn’t there for us to do any dredging.” But The agency has instead spent £20million on a coastal nature sanctuary, and run a programme encouraging farmers to flood their fields to promote birdlife at Steart. bygeorge

4:33pm Mon 3 Feb 14

InsiderintheEA says...

Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe
environmentagency.co
.uk/
Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe environmentagency.co .uk/ InsiderintheEA

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree