Fens plan to look at next century of climate change
Seventy years after a great flood hit the coast of eastern England , a new climate adaptation scheme is launching. Fens 2100+ is designed to protect the low-lying area that is home to over 50% of England's top agricultural land. The Environment Agency says it will enable the Fens to "adapt to the challenges of climate change both now and into the future". Extreme weather and rising sea levels are threatening the region's residents and its capacity to produce food. The project will scope out what investment is needed to manage "flood and coastal risk" over the next 20 years. It will then develop adaptation plans "to balance the needs of people, the environment and agriculture for the next 100 years". Farmer Stafford Proctor welcomed the project, saying "this kind of far-reaching planning" is "really good news." He farms land in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, growing crops such as wheat, sugar beet, peas and oilseed rape. He has already seen climate change affecting his crops and said it has been "very, very difficult" to make a profit from selling potatoes recently. "We don't have irrigation, so that's counted against us in these dry years," he said. Amy Shaw, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said The Fens is "an entirely unnatural landscape" only made habitable thanks to careful management. She said the focus of Fens 2100+ was to "develop investment plans" and drum up capital funding for "flood and coastal risk management". It is thought about 1.6bn in investment is needed to protect the Fens. Mr Proctor says one area that needs more funding is the flood defence banks. "We haven't put any new banks up now since 1980," he said, "and at some point in the future, the sea is going to come over our existing banks." Georgina Birch is landlady at the Lamb and Flag pub in Welney, Norfolk. She is sceptical about whether future investment will make a difference to residents. "A lot of money has been invested by the Environment Agency to protect farmland, which is completely understandable," she said. "What we haven't seen is anything done for local communities regarding transport links." She says money was spent last year putting up barriers to protect the village, but questions whether the area needs a complete overhaul. "Is the answer to keep putting sticking plasters on the banks, or is the answer to reconsider proper management of the actual water ways?" she asked. Mr Proctor said Fens 2100+ is a great way to "raise awareness" about climate change after having his own "wake up call" during a flood on the River Nene in 2013. "We all need to be aware of the risks we are under and be doing something to make sure that it is not a problem for the future generations," he said. Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter . If you have a story suggestion email email@example.com The young farmer taking on climate change Wet farming experiment awarded 8m in funding Sunset thrills Fen photographers Great flood of 1953 engulfed everything - survivor Woman born during Battle of Passchendaele celebrates 106th birthday 7 of the best roast dinners in Norfolk according to Google reviews 5 celebrities you could spot in Norwich this autumn Severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts of Norfolk Gorleston woman's care home eviction almost due Call for rethink to stop sell off of empty council buildings Morocco rescuers dig with bare hands as foreign aid sent US denies Cold War with China in historic Vietnam visit How Russia and West agreed on Ukraine G20 language How Russia and West agreed on Ukraine G20 language US denies Cold War with China in historic Vietnam visit 'Everyone in this village is either dead or missing' A Serbian scientist's long quest to name Srebrenica's dead How chronic pain feels for me. Video How chronic pain feels for me Guyana scrambles to make the most of oil wealth The spongy creatures cleaning Zanzibar's oceans. Video The spongy creatures cleaning Zanzibar's oceans Inside a 'hijacked' South African building. Video Inside a 'hijacked' South African building The rise and fall of a parenting influencer Florida's first hurricane-proof town The greatest spy novel ever written? Why is everyone crazy about Aperol? 2023 BBC.