Farmer to take action after 20 years flooding

Dismayed farmer Peter Walmsley is threatening to withold his Council tax as the battle over flooding at his Hambleton farm escalates
Dismayed farmer Peter Walmsley is threatening to withold his Council tax as the battle over flooding at his Hambleton farm escalates

Furious farmer Peter Walmsley is threatening to withhold his council tax after a 20 year battle to sort out flooding on his land has so far ended in failure.

He says the final straw was a letter from the Environment Agency which he claims reneged on a previous offer to enforce dyke clearance along part of a water course known as Peg’s Pool main river dyke.

Mr Walmsley, a former poultry farmer of Grizedale Lee Farm, Shard Lane, Hambleton, traces his problems back to changes in drainage practice across this area of Wyre, the closure of the National Rivers Authority’s local drainage board and the silting up of local waterways with no enforcement action.

And he claims flooding has cost him dearly, he said: “I am absolutely on the warpath now - I’m furious. They promised on December 18 they would enforce the digging of the dyke.”

Wyre and Preston North MP Ben Wallace first took up the case in 2010. He said: “I am incredibly disappointed that after five years and numerous promises and assurances the Environment Agency is not proposing to take any meaningful action to address the flooding which Mr Walmsley has been experiencing.

“It is simply unacceptable to say that he lives in a bad location and close the case. I will be writing to the head of the Environment Agency nationally to pursue the case at the highest level. I will not let the matter drop.”

But Jim Walker of the Environment Agency said: “We have been working with Lancashire County Council for the past six months to try and address the problems.

“This land drainage issue has taken time to progress because both organisations need to prioritise resources in areas where the most people and property are at risk from flooding.

“We have also been working to gather evidence concerning any remaining drainage issues. This includes survey data and information on silt levels, and how they affect flood risk.

“We will continue to work with Mr Walmsley, Lancashire County Council and the local MP and discuss options for the future.”