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 david.simister@champnews.com
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 (3020689)
Flood 'threat to rural areas'
by David Simister


A COUNCILLOR claims flood prevention plans for urban areas will have a “devastating” affect on farm land.

Cllr Jane Houlgrave said proposals from Environment Agency to alter the flood plains in its Lower Alt with Crossens Pumped Drainage Catchment will leave agricultural land in the northern parts of West Lancashire, including Rufford, at risk.

Cllr Houlgrave said: “The proposals in this strategy would have a devastating effect on the economy of the area, drastically reducing the amount of food produced and jobs would be lost.

“Furthermore, residents in those areas affected would have difficulty in obtaining home insurance and would find it difficult to sell their properties.

“There is also concern about its effect on flood defences which are already at risk due to inadequate infrastructure maintenance by the Environment Agency.”

Cllr Houlgrave said she supported plans by South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook to campaign against the proposals - which are currently under consultation - and added that the plans put rural areas at risk in the interests of protecting urban settlements.

The plans have also attracted criticism from farmers in West Lancashire, who last week took part in a meeting in Tarleton to voice their objections to the plans.

James Golding, a farmer based in Rufford, said: “I am totally against flood plains in this area and feel that the way forward is winter storage of water which can then be used in summer to water the crops reducing the reliance on pumping. I do not see the need for flood plains when the pumping station at Crossens is so efficient.

“The current scheme known as the Dobby Scheme was put in place in 1963 and in all that time River Crossens Pumping Station has never been unable to cope.”

The consultation on the plans is open until December 16. You can find out more and share your thoughts by going to the Environment Agency website online at www.environment-agency.gov.uk






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