Region’s legal experts to attend major conference where UK’s flooding crisis will be under the spotlight

25 February 2020


As severe flood warnings remain in place across much of the UK, legal experts from the region’s largest law firm are preparing to join sector leaders to discuss the impact of rising water levels on the nation’s future.

Senior members of the Agricultural and Governance teams at Wilkin Chapman solicitors are attending the 2020 Floodex UK conference in Peterborough on February 26 and 27.

Organised by the Association of Drainage Authorities (ADA), the representation body for drainage, water level and flood risk management authorities, the two-day event sees industry leaders coming together, with a range of trade stands and seminars.

With the conference coming so soon after the latest water crisis to hit the country, there will be little doubt of the major topic of conversation. The two storms that have hit over the last two weekends, Ciara and Dennis, brought with them major weather warnings causing flooding to homes and businesses, rivers to burst their banks and severe disruption to transport infrastructure.

With swathes of valuable farmland still severely affected by the downpours late last year, the recent weather has further exacerbated an already terrible situation not just in our region but across the whole country with rain lashing down on already saturated land.

Wilkin Chapman solicitors has a close connection with the rural landscapes of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and East Yorkshire, and in recent years has been active in supporting flood prevention and alleviation schemes across all three counties.

As Legal Panel members for the NFU in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, the firm is representing and advising several of the organisation’s members in the aftermath of the recent weather. It also remains in close contact with the NFU and actively engaged in looking at how solutions can be achieved moving forward.

Senior Partner Andrew Holt said: “There is a long-term issue here with regards to how farmers can be assisted, in examining what they can do to ensure they protect their land not in the months ahead, but in the years ahead.”

Senior Solicitor within the firm’s agricultural team, Amy Slocombe Smith, who will be attending Floodex, continued: “What we see in our region are farmers, many of them clients, who are understandably concerned. From a professional point of view, it is the long-term plans that they must make in order to cope with what are clearly changing weather patterns and what assistance can be offered to support them. This is where the up and coming Agriculture Bill and its contents will be vital,” said Amy.

“But there is also a personal concern. Many of the farmers and landowners who come to us for help and support are people whose families have farmed their land for generations and for them these continued weather events, coupled with the changing times that Brexit is bringing, may see them having to make important decisions on both their futures and those of their sons, daughters and relatives.

“This is not an easy time for the farming communities of Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, and it will be interesting to hear the views of those at Floodex on how people can be advised and assisted,” she added.

Amy will be attending Floodex alongside Wilkin Chapman’s Head of Agriculture, Partner Catherine Harris and Partner within the Regulatory sector Jonathan Goolden.

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