Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 14°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Suffolk: Major changes under way as water pressure mounts

15:40 08 January 2014

Meurig Raymond, National Farmers

Meurig Raymond, National Farmers' Union deputy president, who will be visiting Suffolk this month to attend a water meeting

andy catterall

Suffolk farmers who take water from rivers and groundwater to grow food are being warned that major changes are on the way.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a three-month consultation on proposals to modernise the way water is taken from rivers and groundwater under licence, representing the biggest shake up of the abstraction licensing regime for 50 years.

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) deputy president Meurig Raymond will be in Suffolk on Thursday, January 23, to chair the first of six consultation meetings across the region - and the NFU is urging farmers to get involved.

NFU national water resources specialist Paul Hammett said: “The Government wants the public to buy more British fruit and vegetables but farmers can only meet that demand if they have secure access to water.

“Ministers now need to match their words with action to deliver a fairer system - one that treats all water users equally and which makes that link between food security and water security.

“The new abstraction licensing system is at least 10 years away but we need to spend time and effort now, shaping a system that will suit the long-term water use on farms and protect this vital part of Suffolk’s rural economy.”

The NFU’s Why Farming Matters in Coastal Suffolk report highlighted the importance of the irrigated crops sector along the east Suffolk coast. Research by Cranfield University for East Suffolk Water Abstractors Group (ESWAG) estimated the value of these crops to the local economy at £51million.

Peter Youngs of ESWAG said: “These high-value crops can only be grown if farmers have access to water for irrigation.

“Without this water, not only would the crops fail but there would be job losses and the local economy would also suffer.”

As well as obtaining views on Defra’s abstraction reform consultation, the NFU meetings will consider the immediate local pressures facing irrigators. There will be speakers from the NFU, irrigation experts, the Environment Agency and local farmers.

The first consultation meeting takes place at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew, on Thursday, January 23, starting at 10am. A second meeting for Suffolk farmers is on Friday, February 7, at the NFU Regional Office in Newmarket.

Farmers in Essex are invited to attend a consultation meeting at Essex YFC, Whitbreads Barn, Chatham Green, on Friday, January 31.

Booking is essential and farmers can find out more by calling 01638 672100 or by speaking to their local NFU group office.

1 comment

  • Many farmers now have their own reservoir's, and that to me is the most sensible way forward !, after all what with all the 'subsidies' for this , that and the other !, I've yet to meet a poor farmer !!

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sizewell C

EDF’s chief executive has said the company is “ready” to start building Hinkley Point C as soon as the Government gives the go-ahead.

Bradwell nuclear power station

Fresh concerns have been raised about the prospect of a new nuclear power station on the Essex coastline as the government postponed a decision on a plant at Hinkley Point.

Stock image.

A suspect was fished from a pond by officers following an altercation in a Suffolk village overnight.

Library image

A murder investigation has been launched after the death of a man in Broomfield, near Chelmsford.

Emma Young, assistant nurse at St Helena Hospice in Colchester.

Emma Young, whose version of Make you Feel My Love, penned by Bob Dylan and covered by Adele, went viral following a performance in front of parents and staff at St Helena Hospice has performed at Colchester’s Party in the Park.

Police have been called to a collision between a Ford Focus and a Ford Fiesta near to the Suffolk Ski Centre.

Samuel and Darren Noller at the Eiffel Tower, Paris

A father and son cycling duo raised more than £3,000 for a Suffolk charity helping women struggling with addiction.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24