Dredging failures are turning UK into swamp

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From: Peter B. Knaggs, Church Fenton.

IT is good to see the Yorkshire Post highlighting the problems of rural England (Yorkshire Post, January 28). For far too long a dysfunctional Environment Agency, aided and abetted by Defra and the multitude of environmental campaigning charities have attempted to turn the countryside in to a 17th century swamp, preserved in aspic.

At the same time those individuals enjoy living a 21st century lifestyle. The lowlands of England are dependent on an efficient waterway system to allow the free flow of water to the sea.

Not long ago commercial shipping could trade up to Selby and York and the rivers had a commercial importance. In recent times, cost-cutting and the ever present gerrymandering of the environmental lobby have stopped all useful work on such projects. Farmers now require a licence from the Environment Agency to deposit ditch sludge on their own land. Is this not bureaucratic madness?

Rivers are silted, banks have caved in and trees encroach into the waterways thereby decreasing the capacity and the flow of the rivers. To overcome this, urban areas have seen flood walls built even higher and consequently more water deposited on agricultural land and rural communities flooded.

It is somewhat ironic that insurers are expected to cover the cost of these incompetent agencies.

At the same time, the farmers are having their livelihoods destroyed by those that neither understand nor care about the production of the country’s food supplies.

Is it not madness that a farmer should be paying drainage rates for the privilege of being drowned in the winter and the same farmer has to pay charges for the abstraction of water to irrigate his crops in the summer?

We do not need Owen Paterson and his Environment Agency to discuss whether dredging is useful. Were our forefathers that stupid?

If we want the Vale of York to return to a bog-land this is the inevitable consequence of years of penny-pinching and total neglect.

Instead of throwing billions at the HS2 rail project let us spend some of that cash on protecting and securing the future of our country.

In conclusion, might I dare to suggest that the whole country should pay a drainage rate? This is not the case now as people who have land just above sea level are the only ones to pay drainage rates.