When the heat is on or the clouds open: how can the rural sector respond to our changing climate?

04 September 2019

Differing weather patterns are changing the shape of our agricultural landscape. As the climate becomes more volatile, the way in which the sector manages, and plans, becomes more complex and water is an essential ingredient within that mix.

The importance of being ‘braver’ and ‘bolder’ when it comes to the management of water is being pushed to the fore by the NFU, with its vice-president Stuart Roberts using keynote speeches this summer to press for new Government policy to ‘protect a future supply of clean water’.

The way in which agricultural land in East Yorkshire can be protected in times of intense heat and during heavy rainfall was certainly a topic of debate at the recent Driffield Show, where we invited the agricultural community to share their issues with us.

On this topic, it is interesting to note the work that is currently being undertaken by our colleagues within the regulatory and commercial sectors at Wilkin Chapman, where experienced solicitors are assisting Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs), in a variety of areas.

Earlier this year, led by our Regulatory Partner Jonathan Goolden and supported by Senior solicitor Adam Ottley and Regulatory Executive Gino Ballestracci, the team took part in a five-long series of seminars across the country, which were delivered to IDBs and associated organisations.

The events coincided with the release of a national Governance document. Published by ADA (the Association of Drainage Authorities), the document’s contents are proof indeed of the growing importance that IDBs are placing on local Board Members to be ‘active, interested and committed’ in ensuring good water management is born from a ‘collective responsibility’.

As the agricultural community of East Yorkshire looks at innovative ways to cope with the changing climate, there may be an opportunity for the farming sector regionally to consider how it is able to play a further role in the work of the IDBs – helping to overcome some of the challenges.

For more information and advice on any agricultural or rural legal matters, contact Amy Slocombe Smith on 01482 398384.


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