Somerset farmer in row with the Environment Agency over compensation

Farmer James Hall with Becky Riley.

Farmer James Hall with Becky Riley.

First published in News Somerset County Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

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.

Comments (6)

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10:02am Sat 3 May 14

Dr Dave says...

I cannot believe the audacity of this farmer claiming compensation when many hundreds of other people were flooded out of their homes, who will suffer for months to come. I don't expect the yard was in great condition in the first place if most farms I've seen are anything to go by! Sadly, if this is the result of emergency procedures put in place at short notice to help protect others, thus will be a major problem for the EA if a similar situation should arise again.
I cannot believe the audacity of this farmer claiming compensation when many hundreds of other people were flooded out of their homes, who will suffer for months to come. I don't expect the yard was in great condition in the first place if most farms I've seen are anything to go by! Sadly, if this is the result of emergency procedures put in place at short notice to help protect others, thus will be a major problem for the EA if a similar situation should arise again. Dr Dave
  • Score: -11

2:06pm Sat 3 May 14

ladybird14 says...

At the end of the day this is his living and i feel he and his partner has gone through enough and they should get what is owing to them. They already need to pay out loads to put rain damage things right,why should they pay out extra if i remember Mr Camron said we were a rich country and he pay put everything right for theses people so someone needs to pull their finger out because i know if it was me i would be shouting too just like many others would so good luck and best wishes i hope you get what is needed to get you up and running again !!!
At the end of the day this is his living and i feel he and his partner has gone through enough and they should get what is owing to them. They already need to pay out loads to put rain damage things right,why should they pay out extra if i remember Mr Camron said we were a rich country and he pay put everything right for theses people so someone needs to pull their finger out because i know if it was me i would be shouting too just like many others would so good luck and best wishes i hope you get what is needed to get you up and running again !!! ladybird14
  • Score: 4

11:19pm Sat 3 May 14

jellyonaplate says...

Greedy farmers. Always crying poverty but get enough subsidies already from the government (us tax payers)
Greedy farmers. Always crying poverty but get enough subsidies already from the government (us tax payers) jellyonaplate
  • Score: -3

4:40pm Mon 5 May 14

Monument says...

If damage has been caused then of course those responsible should pay.

The report says the EA are considering the case. This just seems like someone applying pressure through the media to speed up or influence the decision yet to be made.
If damage has been caused then of course those responsible should pay. The report says the EA are considering the case. This just seems like someone applying pressure through the media to speed up or influence the decision yet to be made. Monument
  • Score: 4

10:44pm Mon 5 May 14

Guy Smiley says...

QUICK QUICK QUICK!

Come to our aid and drain the levels and dredge the rivers.

Now - we want compensation for the way you are spreading the dredged silt on the land.

AND now - we want compensation for damage caused by the swift action taken to dredge the levels.

Spoon fed.
QUICK QUICK QUICK! Come to our aid and drain the levels and dredge the rivers. Now - we want compensation for the way you are spreading the dredged silt on the land. AND now - we want compensation for damage caused by the swift action taken to dredge the levels. Spoon fed. Guy Smiley
  • Score: 6

5:36pm Wed 7 May 14

Mi_Coc says...

Hall is a trouble maker he has loved the media attention, unfortunately as smiley has pointed out he offered use of his yard but that was only in his mind for one lorry 10am -4pm anything outside he believe he is owed compensation.
Hall is a trouble maker he has loved the media attention, unfortunately as smiley has pointed out he offered use of his yard but that was only in his mind for one lorry 10am -4pm anything outside he believe he is owed compensation. Mi_Coc
  • Score: 0

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