Farmers still suffering impacts of Lough Neagh flooding

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th January 2016

High levels of rain fall continue to fall over Northern Ireland causing flooding in different parts of the country.  General views of the flooding at Kinnego Marina near Lurgan on the banks of Lough Neagh where water levels have damaged local businesses and tourism. 
Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 8th January 2016 High levels of rain fall continue to fall over Northern Ireland causing flooding in different parts of the country. General views of the flooding at Kinnego Marina near Lurgan on the banks of Lough Neagh where water levels have damaged local businesses and tourism. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

The impacts of the flooding around the shores of Lough Neagh is still being felt, the Ulster Farmers Union has said.

The UFU has been involved in a review of flooding following a winter that brought prolonged and challenging conditions for farmers around Lough Neagh.

As part of this process it hosted a meeting on a farm in the flood area of Lough Neagh, to highlight the problems in that area.

“We brought some of the farmers affected to meet the independent chair of the flooding review panel set up by the Rivers Agency,” said UFU president, Barclay Bell.

“We wanted to make sure Alan Strong heard first hand and understood the problems farmers had faced during the floods, and the impact it had on their farms.”

He added that the UFU was fully behind the review and had pressed for it to make realistic recommendations about changes to help prevent a repeat of the damage of earlier this year.

The UFU offered a number of solutions to deal with flooding around Lough Neagh.

“We believe it would be beneficial to compile a report similar to that of the 2013 Review of Lough Erne Operating Regime. This would set out in detail actions which could prevent flooding of this level in the future.

“We would like to see a review of the statutory levels of the Lough, along with looking at ways to increase outlet channel capacity. These are viable solutions and they require full consideration by the panel,” said Mr Bell.

Months on from the floods it is clear there will be considerable work involved in returning the land to its previous state.

The UFU has urged farmers affected to detail the remedial work involved, which will be passed on to the review panel. It has encouraged farmers hit by the floods to apply for the assistance aid and reminded members that DARD has extended the eligible designated areas.