Cabinet Member visits flood-hit farmer

Prominent Somerset Farmer and landowner, Mary Roberts has backed a Somerset County Council-led campaign to secure significant flood prevention investment in the County.

The backing came as Mary Roberts, from Myrtle Farm, Moorlynch welcomed County Council Cabinet Member for Resources, David Huxtable to her 480 acre farm on the Somerset Levels that has been devastated by the recent floods.

Speaking after the visit, Cllr Huxtable said: “The flooding in this area, and all over Somerset has been an absolute disaster for farmers, businesses and residents and coming over to Myrtle Farm and speaking with Mary has reinforced my opinion that a solution needs to be found – we are not talking about a one-off, this has happened for two consecutive years now.

“People’s homes and livelihoods are being affected and our local economy is suffering as a consequence. It is clear that action needs to be taken and we have to protect our communities against flooding on this scale”.

Cllr Huxtable visited some of the most severe flooding Mary Roberts has ever seen on her land – and she can trace her family’s history in the area to the 1320’s.

Mary estimates that around 90 per cent of her land is currently under water and the fertile pasture underneath has been ‘ruined’ by the floodwater.

Speaking to Cllr Huxtable during his visit, Mary said: “This is some of the most productive agricultural land in England. We have summer grazing here and lots of grass is made into hay and silage for winter feeding and it’s a complete disaster because if this water doesn’t disappear quickly we are left with a morass – a bog; because the grass under here will die.

“This is due to the rivers, the Tone and the Parrett, not being maintained. They have had no maintenance whatsoever for the last 20 years. They both need dredging”.

Mary later added her support to the ‘Fairer Funding for Somerset Campaign’: “I think that everyone should support Somerset County Council in their campaign to secure extra funding from Central Government to address this problem. This is affecting people’s livelihoods and we need action.”

People are being encouraged to support Somerset County Council’s ‘Fairer Funding for Somerset’ campaign by liking and sharing photos at or using the hashtag #fairerfundingforsomerset on Twitter.