Flooding

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:14 pm on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Conservative, Wyre Forest 3:14 pm, 4th March 2020

My hon. Friend is right, and in raising the issue of farming, she brings me on to my next point. She is right about having a local control centre, and it is very important that we work with the Environment Agency and deliver what it needs to make sure we have local control centres.

On Saturday morning, I met a farmer, Mr Grainger, who has a problem with the fact that, in order to secure his single farm payment, he has to have three-crop rotation throughout the year. His first crop has been ruined. His farm is a bog of unfarmable clay and mush. He cannot get a second crop in, so he is going to lose his single farm payment, and that is a big problem. I have already raised it with the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, and he will look into it, but that is something that Mr Grainger and many other farmers are very keen to get their head around. They want to know whether we can help them.

Flooding is really one of those absolutely terrible things. There are a lot of heroes involved. There is only one thing that I am slightly sad about with having the demountable barriers, and that is the loss of the stoicism and humour of the local fish bar, Merchants, which is a fish and chip shop down the side of the River Severn. Every time it flooded, Mr Merchant used to put a sign outside his shop saying, “All fish caught on the premises”. We will not see that sort of stoicism with the flood barriers.