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Flood Control: Agriculture

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance is being given to farmers on (a) contour ploughing and (b) grass and natural planting along river banks to help manage flood waters in high risk areas. (156184)

A review of the impacts of land use and management on flood generation has been carried out through the joint DEFRA/Environment Agency research project FD2114 (2004). This identified a number of measures that can help to mitigate localised flooding by delaying run-off; including cultivation techniques such as contour ploughing and land management measures such as the use of grass buffer strips.

The Environment Agency also provides guidance on the use of contour ploughing to reduce run-off and erosion through its Best Farming Practice booklet (revised in 2003).

As part of DEFRA’s “Making Space for Water” strategy, two projects are examining the role that rural land use and land management can play in managing flood risk at the farm and catchment scale. These projects will deliver recommendations in 2008 and inform future advice to farmers and farming representatives.