- Henry Ward’s farm has flooded again with the land seven feet underwater
A farmer whose Lincolnshire grounds were flooded by 15 feet of water in 2019 causing him to lose around £80,000 has been hit again by Storm Babet.
Henry Ward’s farm was left underwater for three months after the Barlings Eau river burst its banks following torrential downpours almost exactly four years ago.
The Environment Agency is believed to have spent around £5million plugging the breach in the riverbank and carrying out repairs.
Now, due to heavy rain brought by Storm Babet, it has flooded again, with the land seven feet underwater and another two inches of rain expected today.
Henry, who took over the farm from his father Joe Ward a couple of months before the last flood in 2019, said: ‘The flooding is much more widespread this time and there are a lot of farms in a similar position to us.
Pictures showing the flooded farm in Lincolnshire in 2019 and now amid Storm Babet
Henry Ward’s farm has turned into an island again – pictured today
‘The river bank topped late Friday night and the water is seven feet deep in the worst hit places. In 2019 the river bank burst, but this time it hasn’t burst so the flooding is not on quite the same scale.
‘But I’m concerned as there is one vulnerable section of the river bank where it is over-topping still and running through the bank and there is a slip on one side.
‘We had more rain yesterday and more is expected today so I’m worried that it’s only a matter of time before the bank goes. We spent yesterday putting sandbags on top of the bank and we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
‘If the bank holds it will be a case of pumping the water off the farmland, but if the bank bursts it will have to be repaired which will take time.’
Henry said that in 2019 he had not planted that area of the farm but this time he has recently planted 60 acres of oil seed rape and 100 acres of wheat, which had just started growing.
He added: ‘Even if the flooding doesn’t get worse we will have lost around £30,000 of crops and it will take the same amount of money again to re-plant them.’
Flooding in a caravan park near Lincoln after the Barlings Eau river burst its bank in Storm Babet
Now, due to heavy rain brought by Storm Babet, Henry’s farm has flooded again, with the land seven feet underwater and another two inches of rain expected today
Henry believes the flooding could happen again and going forward he wants a more pragmatic approach.
He is keen to do a flood storage scheme with the Environment Agency, which would see the Agency pay him to flood part of his farm.
He added: ‘In 2019 the local communities weren’t flooded as our farm took most of the hit, but this time nearby villages have also been flooded.
‘At the moment there are no winners but if we worked out a scheme it could be good for everyone.
‘If the Environment Agency paid me for the crop loss and damage every time my farm flooded it would be cheaper than paying to repair the river bank every time and it would save the villages from being flooded.’
He said the flooding was getting more frequent, having happened previously in 2007 and before that in the 1980’s.
He added: ‘If the Environment Agency don’t want to do a scheme, I don’t know what to do as it’s really good fertile farmland but I can’t keep taking the risk of planting on it if there is a possibility it may flood and I’ll lose all the crops again.’
Henry Ward took over the farm from his father – the property pictured amid floods in 2019