Farmers across Somerset are being invited to bid in the UK’s first countywide auction for works to help stop flooding.
The auction will be run online from February 26 – March 12 using a new Environment Agency web app, which can be found at www.nfmauction.org.uk. The website offers Somerset farmers a unique combination of possibilities:
- First, to select for themselves different natural flood management (NFM) activities.
- Second, to pick out parts of their land where they believe those activities will produce the best flood prevention results for them and for local communities.
- Third, to bid for funding for those activities.
As the main purpose of NFM activities in Somerset is to slow the flow of water down through the higher parts of river catchments, the web app will not allow farmers to place bids for land in low-lying Internal Drainage Board areas, but the auction otherwise covers the length and breadth of Somerset.
Cllr John Osman, SRA Chairman, told Tone News:: “This is still a very new system, but all the signs are that it has many strengths. It cuts out paperwork. It saves time and money. It draws on farmers’ unrivalled knowledge of their own land. It’s easy to use – and it gets results.
“Last summer, as a trial of the web app, there was a much smaller auction in the catchments of the River Tone and River Parrett in Somerset and the SRA gave out 22 grants to winning bids.”
Grants are being offered for five different natural flood management measures: maize management, grassland subsoiling, hedge planting, soil bunds, and leaky dams.
All help to slow the flow of water, while delivering other benefits. Grassland subsoiling, for example, aerates the ground so that more