July 2014: Farming, flooding and fishing: Can we resolve the conflicts by dredging?

Following last winter’s extreme flooding on the Somerset Levels and the heated debate that followed between the farming community and conservationists about how best to mitigate future flooding, the Game & Wildlife APPG thought it was time to have a discussion about how best to manage and balance our priority services such as wildlife, water quality, food production and flood alleviation.

At our next meeting, we aim to cover a range of perspectives on water management, including the impact of flooding and how we can develop practical ways to reduce this from the farm to the flood plain. Members and guests will be briefed by prominent research organisations into the latest Water Friendly Farming project, which not only considers the importance of soil erosion and reducing peak river flow but critically water quality for our river wildlife. Dredging has been proposed as a solution to some areas susceptible to flooding, but it is important that whilst this remains a tool in the box, we fully contemplate the impact this can have on our fragile river habitats.

An important part of this discussion is hearing from our farmers and land managers, and we are very pleased that the National Farmers Union will be joining us to consider the role that the farming community can play in both producing food but also in mitigating defuse pollution and soil erosion.


  • Paul Knight, Chief Executive, Salmon & Trout Association
  • Diane Mitchell, Chief Environment Adviser, National Farmers Union
  • Prof Chris Stoate, Head of Water Friendly Farming research, GWCT