UFU hosts Lough Neagh flood meeting

Pictured discussing the flooding with effected farmers and UFU president Barclay Bell is Alan Strong, independent chair of the flooding review panel set up by the Rivers Agency.
Pictured discussing the flooding with effected farmers and UFU president Barclay Bell is Alan Strong, independent chair of the flooding review panel set up by the Rivers Agency.

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has been involved in a review of flooding following a winter that brought prolonged and challenging conditions for farmers around Lough Erne and Lough Neagh.

As part of this process it hosted a meeting on a farm in the flood area of Lough Neagh, near Portadown, to highlight the problems in that area.

“We brought some of the farmers affected to meet the independent chair of the flooding review panel set up by the Rivers Agency. We wanted to make sure Alan Strong heard first hand and understood the problems farmers had faced during the floods, and the impact it had on their farms,” said UFU president, Barclay Bell.

He added that the UFU was fully behind the review and had pressed for it to make realistic recommendations about changes to help prevent a repeat of the damage of earlier this year.

The UFU offered a number of solutions to deal with flooding around Lough Neagh.

“We believe it would be beneficial to compile a report similar to that of the 2013 Review of Lough Erne Operating Regime. This would set out in detail actions which could prevent flooding of this level in the future. We would like to see a review of the statutory levels of the Lough, along with looking at ways to increase outlet channel capacity. These are viable solutions and they require full consideration by the panel,” said Mr Bell.

Months on from the floods it is clear there will be considerable work involved in returning the land to its previous state.

The UFU has urged farmers affected to detail the remedial work involved, which will be passed on to the review panel. In the coming weeks the Ulster Farmers’ Union will host a similar visit to Fermanagh.

It has also encouraged farmers hit by the floods to apply for the flood assistance aid and reminded members that DARD has extended the eligible designated areas under the compensation scheme. UFU have urged farmers to submit their applications before the scheme deadline on May 16.