Action call on farm flooding

Flooding on North Houses Lane, St Annes and (below) Andy Pemberton in a flooded field.
Flooding on North Houses Lane, St Annes and (below) Andy Pemberton in a flooded field.
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FARMERS have revealed their fears over the drainage nightmare which has seen flooding envelope the Fylde coast.

And they insist action must be taken now to prevent major problems in the future.

Andy Pemberton in a flooded field.

Andy Pemberton in a flooded field.

Rural business leaders say their land is at saturation point, and has been for weeks after high rainfall across the coast.

Andy Pemberton, owner of Pembertons Dairies, Birks Farm, Ballam Road, Lytham, and John Kirkham, of JW Kirkham and Sons Farm, 
Saltcotes Road, Lytham, both agree inadequate drainage is a growing issue and needs rectifying.

Mr Pemberton said: “There are serious issues with local drainage.

“At present the existing main drainage channels are not capable of coping with rainfall levels.

“As no houses or commercial properties have been affected by flooding in recent weeks some may think we have adequate drainage.

“I can assure you this is not the case.

“You only need to ask anyone who is connected with the land at any level what has been happening in recent years.

Just ask your local football club, school playing fields, golf clubs – things aren’t right.

“We have areas across Fylde, Staining, Weeton and Blackpool Airport trying to drain away in Lytham and the system isn’t equipped to cope.”

Mr Kirkham added: “The Environment Agency management of the issue has been a disaster – nearly half of my land has been flooded.

“There has been a long-term lack of cutting vegetation, a lack of de-silting main and arterial drains and there is a complete failure in an inadequate pumping system.”

Flooding has taken place this year in Marton and Over Wyre as well as rural areas of Fylde.

Issues were highlighted during the Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes, when bunkers were underwater following prolonged rainfall.

Charles Grimley, Secretary at Royal Lytham and St Annes, said: “We have done a lot in recent years to ensure we have excellent drainage at the course, and this year has seen a heavy, prolonged rainfall period across the Fylde.

“However, we can have the best drainage system in the world, but if it doesn’t have a correct system to drain into then there is an issue.”

Mr Pemberton says the drainage at Liggard Brook and the main drain at Lytham Docks into the Ribble is ill-equipped to cope.

He added: “The pumping station needs to be on all the time for us to cope. Since Preston Docks shut, there has been a lack of ships and sediment has built up on the riverbed.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “The priority for us is to reduce the risk of flooding to as many people and properties as possible.

“We are discussing flood risk and land drainage options with farmers in this area.

“We are keen to hear what they have to say and work together on the future land drainage options.”

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