East Halton farmers hope flooded land could soon be high and dry
A SOLUTION to flooded farmland due to years of poor drainage is on the horizon.
East Halton farmers were optimistic improvement works could be carried out by the Environment Agency to improve the flow of Skitter Beck, which meets the tidal River Humber just north of the village.
But due to silting up of the beck, the farmland on both banks of the river floods.
Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers arranged a meeting between landowners, Environment Agency officials and representatives of the North East Lindsey Drainage board, who have all now agreed to form an action group.
Farmers highlighted the loss of income they suffered due to flooded fields on which they grow wheat, barley and rape.
Former Environment Agency official Chris Noble, who now works for North East Lindsey Drainage Board, said the problem had been exacerbated by a collapsed roadway which, ironically, had been built by the Environment Agency 20 years ago to allow heavy plant excavators access to the beck to dredge it of silt.
Rocks from the road have fallen into Skitter Beck creating an obstacle for the water and allowing silt to build up.
Mr Noble told landowners: "The solution lies in trapping the tidal water between the two gates and releasing it when the tide is out so it creates sufficient flow to carry the silt away naturally. That way you can keep on top of the problem."
Farmer George Turner, of Baysgarth Farm, said the silt levels had risen constantly.
He said: "Because it has not been cleared there is not enough water to flush it away. It is a silt-laden river and periodically it all comes to a head.
"It needs sorting because the main problem is flooding of the fields. They are on peat soil and the water just comes up through it."
Mr Vickers said: "The solution is going to depend on funding. The important thing is everyone is talking to one another to come up with a solution. I facilitated the meeting after the farmers came to see me at my surgery a few weeks ago.
"It looks as if the Environment Agency will come up with a plan and the question will be whether it can do it from its budget."
Natural England representative Tim Page said he could see no environmental reason why the work could not begin.
He said: "The agency is carrying out exactly the same kind of work on the north bank of the Humber at Heddon Haven. So this is not radically different."