Much has been made in recent weeks about EU policy limiting dredging of rivers, and how this makes flooding worse.
But we seem to have overlooked another important issue. The Common Agricultural Policy requires farmers to clear land of ‘unwanted vegetation’ in order to be able to claim subsidies. But water sinks into the soil under trees at 67 times the rate at which it sinks into the soil under grass, so every time a tree or a hedge is unnecessarily cut down we increase the pressure on the water table and the risk of flooding.
If only we could learn one thing; the same thing in both cases. When bureaucrats mess with tried-and-tested methods, the impact is usually negative.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East Region