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re flooding, dredging, agriculture, uplands and forestry
1. Draining the land Published July 11 2012 Many uplands were drained to facilitate food production for the first time whereas low-lying farmland is drained to increase crop yields Sir, The removal of field drains to reduce run-off (letter, July 10 could !enefit some areas !ut !e detrimental in others" Many uplands were drained after the war to facilitate food production for the first time whereas low-lying farmland is drained to increase crop yields while ena!ling tractor access throughout the year" Today, as the #overnment launches the #reen Food $ro%ect, there is pressure to loo& at more efficient ways to utilise our countryside" 'and sharing and sparing is one such way and would involve !loc&ing off drains on less productive land thus (sharing) it with other ecosystem services such as water catchment management and wildlife at the e*pense of a reduction in yield" +y comparison, land sparing would result in drainage improvements in productive agricultural areas to increase yields while (sparing) more land for !iodiversity" ,o! -or&e .!ergavenny, Monmouthshire 2. Flood management Published September 23 2013 The /nvironment .gency0s recent proposed rela*ation of regulations must not mean that farmers (canalise) as many ditches as possi!le Sir, .nglers and conservationists may !e nervous that Somerset farmers, lead !y Mr /avis, are ta&ing flood control into their own hands (report, Sept 11 " The /nvironment .gency0s recent proposed rela*ation of regulations to maintain watercourses must not mean that farmers (canalise) as many ditches as possi!le to get flood water off their land as soon as possi!le" 2opefully this will ena!le landowners to demonstrate their environmental credentials in managing their land to prevent localised pro!lems that affect food production without increasing flooding downstream or destroying sensitive a3uatic ha!itats" ,o! -or&e .!ergavenny, Monmouthshire
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3. Flood prevention Published September 29 2012 The /nvironment .gency must maintain ha!itat on river!an&s !ut also prevent flooding from silting up of river!eds Sir, 4t is as important to slow surface water runoff into watercourses as it is to maintain rivers to prevent flooding (letter, Sept 56 " 7arious organisations are e*ploring ways to encourage farmers to !loc& upland land drains and improve cultivation of low-lying farmland to increase the permea!ility of soils" This sits alongside the implementation of Sustaina!le 8r!an 9rainage Systems in !uilt-up areas with the aim of reducing impermea!le surfaces" The /nvironment .gency is caught in a conundrum of having to maintain !iodiversity ha!itat on river!an&s, while preventing flooding from the silting-up of river!eds" ,o! -or&e .!ergavenny, Monmouthshire 4. Future of forests Published May 28 2011
We must not be too fussy on the trees we employ in mitigating the effects of climate change, nor ignore past lessons
Sir, Many people would agree with $am :arhurst ((;atural life support), letter, May 5< on the !enefits of trees" The government report, (=om!ating =limate =hange > . ,ole for 8? forests), delivered !y $rofessor Sir 9avid ,ead in 5001, provides hard facts on the re3uirement to increase our forest cover" 2owever, we must not !e too fussy on the trees we employ in mitigating the effects of climate change, as well as !eing careful where we plant them" =onifers, such as sit&a spruce and ;orway fir, remove a!out 5@ tonnes of car!on dio*ide per hectare per year, whereas !roadleaves such as the slower growing oa& and ash, remove only 1A tonnes of car!on dio*ide per hectare per annum" .nother important issue is that grants are s&ewed towards planting !roadleaves on productive agricultural land re3uired for food production, rather than targeting conifer plantations on more unproductive land" The perception that commercial forestry comprises of serried ran&s of dar& spruce is now out of date" 'essons have !een learnt from the past and now landscape design can !e modelled !y computer, wildliferich rides integrated into the forest structure and water catchment areas protected" ,o! -or&e .!ergavenny, Monmouthshire