THE NFU is urging the Government to review its flooding and coastal defence policies.

At the union’s annual conference in Birmingham, deputy president Meurig Raymond said more money must be committed to reduce further risks to the British countryside.

He said: “It is unacceptable for farmland and rural communities to simply be allowed to be sacrificed – our countryside is too valuable to allow for this situation to continue or worsen.

"Agriculture is a major industry and rural employer and there is much more at risk from flooding than just the food that ends up on our dinner plates.

"The contribution of Britain’s farms should not be ignored if the nation is to become less dependent on food imports.

“We must find better ways of coping with flooding and protecting our lives, property and farmland, using all the options available to us.

"As a nation we need to take full advantage of measures to maintain the conveyance and capacity of our rivers whilst at the same time seek a more active role for some farms to trap, store and slow water.

"Farmers providing flood management services should be properly rewarded where they are a cost efficient solution.”