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Sussex farmer has canoe on standby as farm floods yet again
5:10am Wednesday 12th February 2014 in News
A farmer has a canoe on standby to feed his cattle after his farm was submerged in flood water.
Robert Tedbury said his farm in Hardham near Pulborough has been under water five times this winter following the heavy rain experienced in the past couple of months.
He is face with either taking a tractor, clambering on the top of hedges or paddling in a canoe to get to his herd in their barn.
His summer grazing crop is also currently under several feet of water and looks set to be ruined.
He said: “There is six or seven feet of water between one of the farm buildings and the other.
“I have to bring the food to the herd but I am not a particularly good canoeist.
“It has been a problem since before Christmas. It has been the worst I have seen it since 2001 but this time it has gone on and on.”
His son got him the canoe over Christmas, partly as a joke but also just in case the water go t so bad he had no other way of reaching the 100 cows.
At the moment Mr Tedbury has been walking across the top of hedges to avoid the floodwater. He has likened the state of the farm to those in the Somerset Levels.
The farm is situated next to the River Arun and the 56-year-old said the flooding had been exacerbated by the lack of dredging of the river.
The National Farmers Union has called on more to be done by the Environment Agency to protect the livelihood of farmers.NFU President Peter Kendall has demanded more resilient and better managed flood defences.
He has welcomed two Government announcements this week for a total £130m spend on flood maintenance and repairs, but said more needed to be done.
“The Government and the Environment Agency must learn the lessons of these devastating floods. We have been here before and recently, in 2007 and 2012. Climate change scientists predict precisely this type of event becoming more frequent in future decades,” said Mr Kendall.
“Because of this we need more resilient, better managed flood defences with the capacity to protect life, property and farmland from excessive flooding. We must use all the tools available to us and make dredging a priority.”
The Environment Agency were not available for comment.