LAST year a parcel of land was sold in a valley not far from where I live in Kendal.

The two/three fields had been permanent grazing for years and were often wet as they were sited at the base of a steep escarpment: wet in summer or winter when our weather turned unsettled, and filled with quite a large lake, which slowly dried up as the rain stopped, a kind of flood plain.

I have followed their transformation with interest and increasing sadness as I have to regularly drive past the site.

First, hedges were grubbed out to make one large field. The large field was sprayed with herbicide, the land was then ploughed and reseeded with rye grasses. Some deep drainage ditches appeared in the summer, and now a complex herringbone pattern of ditches is being added. This is to ensure, I presume, the deluge of water off the steep hill does not stay in the field.

I reflect on the costs of this work: days and days of machines, pipes, chippings, and the environmental damage to this piece of land, while watching the rising floods lower down the valley, which is well known for flooding farmland and buildings.

I wonder when we are going to stop incentivising landowners to damage the land and also transfer their flood problem downstream to some other homeowner or farmer.

I live in Kendal where we have similar problems with the Environment Agency which wants to concrete everything.

I understand farmers need to make a living, but the costs of drying this land up seem extraordinary, presumably often paid with taxpayer subsidy.

Come on Defra and Boris, get some changes made.

David Johnson