Why has it rained so much? Extreme flooding puts pressure on food producers

The NFU is urging the government to do more (PA Wire)
The NFU is urging the government to do more (PA Wire)

Food security will be at risk due to flooding and extreme weather linked to climate change unless farmers get more help, the National Farmers Union has said.

The NFU is urging the government to do more to compensate flooded farmers and support domestic food production.

It warns of "substantially reduced output" and "potential hits" to the quality of crops in this year's harvest due to weeks of heavy rain across the UK since the autumn.

NFU vice-president Rachel Hallos said UK farmers were "on the front line of climate change – one of the biggest threats to UK food security".

"These extremes could soon become the norm," she told the BBC. "We need a clear plan from government to prepare, adapt and recover from our changing climate in the short and long term so that we can continue to produce food and care for the countryside."

Earlier this week, the government introduced its Farm Recovery Fund, offering grants of between £500 and £25,000 to farmers in some parts of England who suffered uninsurable flooding damage to their land.

According to the government, it has protected more than 900,000 acres of agricultural land from the impacts of flooding since 2015.

But what is causing the tumultuous weather in the UK?

Why has it rained so much?

The winter of 2023/2024 broke the record for the wettest period, as the eighth wettest on record in the UK, according to the Met Office.

Weather expert Simon King told the BBC that one cause of the wet weather is the jet stream, a fast-flowing wind high in the atmosphere, which brought rainy weather across the Atlantic Ocean to the UK.

However, forecasters have predicted a rise in temperatures from April 11 to April 13 due to an African plume sweeping across the nation.

Temperatures could soar to a warm 21C at times while some will still face April showers. Londoners can expect to enjoy highs of 20C from today until Saturday (April 11-13), with East Anglia and the East Midlands not far behind at 19C.