Union meets members to discuss flooding

UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson
UFU annual meeting at Greenmount. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union has hosted a flooding review meeting with its members in the Lower Bann catchment area. This was part of a series of meetings between the UFU and the Rivers Agency to review the lessons from last winter’s floods.

Following the meeting with the independent chair of the flooding review panel, Alan Strong, UFU deputy president, Ivor Ferguson said: “Farmers in this area are used to a level of flooding due to its location along the Lower Bann. However, last winter brought severe weather conditions that left many of our members facing prolonged periods of flooding. The impact is still being felt, with remedial work under way to restore grassland.”

Members put forward a number of suggestions to prevent a repeat of flooding on the scale of last winter.

“We have raised our concerns about the current management and operating regime to control water levels in Lough Neagh. We believe the statutory levels of the lough must be reviewed and updated. In addition an increase in channel outlet capacity, by removing the barriers at Movanagher and Castleroe, would aid the flow of water from the Lower Bann and should see a reduction to flooding during times of prolonged rainfall,” said Mr Ferguson.

Members also noted that by removing silt to improve water flow and with better coordination at Castleroe and Toome lock gates could also be opened simultaneously to alleviate part of the problem.