A FARMER believes he is the victim of a goodwill gesture gone sour and has slammed Environment Agency chiefs in a dispute over the use of his land.
James Hall offered his yard at Northmoor Farm, near Burrowbridge, as an ‘overflow’ in an attempt to aid contractors pumping water off the saturated Somerset Levels.
Mr Hall claims their equipment caused thousands of pounds worth of damage and is filing for compensation. He also feels his generosity has been thrown back in his face.
He said: “I was doing them a favour and thought I was being reasonable. My yard turned into a building site with cranes, lorries and builders coming on from 4am, keeping me awake.
“Things were damaged, which happens when jobs get done, but I’d expect the repairs to be paid for. The Environment Agency is saying they won’t fully compensate for the damage.
“I’m not saying I deserve more money than what it costs but enough for the repairs.”
This week, the Environment Agency served notice on Mr Hall saying it would be moving in to shift the large pumps, but the 31-year-old says that will mean a huge crane coming back on to his land.
He said: “A 46-tonne crane could come back on my yard and cause even more damage.
“I just want my farm back up and running again because I’m probably not going to make any money until June.”
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “During the recent flood event the Environment Agency was very grateful for the cooperation and support we received from Mr Hall, who farms on the Somerset Levels and Moors, which helped our emergency response to protect local communities.
“Any claim for compensation received following our emergency flood works needs to be assessed and where appropriate, payment will be made as quickly as possible.”
Some 200 acres of Mr Hall’s land were swamped and 123 cattle had to be relocated during the flooding.
Mr Hall has also invested time in helping his parents Bob and Sue Hall, of Fordgate, whose home and farm were completely submerged.