Comment: Scale of flood disaster starting to emerge

Flooded fields off Moor Lane, Cleadon
Flooded fields off Moor Lane, Cleadon
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AS THE week wore on, a bigger picture of the sad affects of the flooding that is blighting North Yorkshire began to become clearer.

While it is impossible to accurately gauge what the full repercussions will be for the region’s submerged farmland until the waters finally subside - a scenario expected to be weeks away yet - it is clear that the damage is widespread.

Speaking to York-based environment adviser for the NFU, James Copeland, this week, he told of how upper catchment areas in the whole of Yorkshire had seen “phenomenal” amounts of water - the Dales and North York Moors included - as this had been working its way down the river system very quickly - hence the damage we’ve seen to our towns and cities, as well as in rural parts of the county.

“Everything north of Malton and the river Derwent area, the water has come through that area causing a lot of damage,” James explained.

“In Swaledale and around the river Nidd, huge volumes have come down and caused flooding on farmland and that’s created capacity in the system that will hopefully reduce the impact on towns and cities as we get more heavy rainfall.”

Over Skipton way, huge volumes of water have been coming through, washing away fencing and posts, he said. While to the south of York and Malton, in floodplain areas, farmland is inundated with water leaving farmers with the almighty challenge of draining away water from saturated ground.

This farmland, in lower catchment areas, is likely to still be underwater for weeks and the crops on this land will have been drowned as well as all the wildlife, James told me.

And he believes that when the water finally subsides it will take months for farmland to dry out and naturally drain away. Only then can farmers try to get back to normal and grow crops.

“At the moment people are hoping they can get the spring crop in, otherwise it will be autumn and by that time they will have lost a full year’s revenue,” James said.

The Forage Aid charity is working with the Farming Community Network to establish how it can aid agricultural businesses affected by the situation in North Yorkshire and Lancashire.

If you need help or know of anyone that may need the charity’s help, Forage Aid is inviting people to get in touch via its website - - or by calling its hotline on 07967 219 991.