Farmers could help stop floods.
FARMERS could be paid to manage water on their land to help prevent flooding in towns and cities, under measures being looked at by the Government.
The scheme, which would use money from European Union farming subsidies earmarked for improving the environment and countryside, could see grants paid to turn fields into woodland or to build on-farm reservoirs or small dams to hold water.
The options are being considered as part of the national flood resilience review to protect the country from future flooding, which was announced by Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss in December in the wake of devastating flooding in Cumbria.
Ms Truss is understood to favour looking after the environment on a wider landscape scale, for example managing water flows on a whole river catchment basis.
"We clearly need to do more in urban areas in terms of conventional flood defences," she said. "But that can't be enough - we have to manage water in the whole catchment."
Natural schemes have been suggested, such as "rewilding" the uplands, planting trees, blocking drains, removing sheep and even reintroducing beavers to build dams, to hold water higher up and prevent floods on lower ground.