In a recent column, Jeremy Clarkson has blamed the government and council for the “catastrophic” effects extreme weather and rainfall has had on his farm.
His farm, Diddly Squat Farm, has been operating under his control for about a year, where he’s been filming for a new Amazon Prime show with the unconfirmed name, I Bought The Farm.
With considerable rainfall occurring in the Oxfordshire area over the last couple of weeks, The Grand Tour presenter notes the issues he’s had thanks to regulations on his and other farms across the country: It’s “irritating for most people”, but it’s “catastrophic” for farmers, he writes as he explains that “water is leaking from literally every pore”.
“To make matters worse, our esteemed leaders have decided to design floodwater defences so that farms are sacrificed to protect the three-piece suites of people in towns and cities.
“And are farmers compensated for this? Ha. You’re having a laugh.”
He discusses the regulations that have been imposed on his farm:
“I’ve been told that to help I should dam the streams on my hilltop farm because water held in ponds here is not able to enter the houses of people who live downstream.
“And being a good citizen, I’ve spent the past year doing just that.”
However, this hasn’t come easily to the ex-Top Gear presenter, who encountered several problems doing such a thing. One stream took six attempts to block, and the equipment needed was expensive. Now, he’s found that his farm collects a lot more water because of this.
“I see the effect already on my farm. I recently built a small barn. It’s maybe 40ft long by 80ft across. And outside it is a newly concreted yard.
“It all looks very smart, but in January more than 3,000 gallons of water that should have seeped through the brashy soil shot through the drainage system and straight into my streams.
“I did a flow test the other day and couldn’t quite believe the findings. In the summer about two million litres of water were flowing down one stream each day. Last week it was handling five times that amount.”
The trouts he was seen feeding after he’d mostly recovered from COVID have since escaped because of this rise in water level as the “outlet pipe simply can’t cope” with the increased water levels.
“Ordinarily there are about 15 little springs on the farm. Now there’s one big one.
“Water is leaking from literally every pore. And the effect on my new big pond has been dramatic because the 4in outlet pipe simply can’t cope.
“Water levels consequently rose until the banks were breached, and that meant my trouts escaped.
“So if you’re reading this in Oxford and one of them swims into your living room next week, can I have it back?” he joked.
But Clarkson, not being someone to shy away from a challenge, has posed a fix to this issue. He wonders if building reservoirs could help farmers across the country who have to deal with these issues each year.
In a recent interview with Grand Tour Fans, Clarkson outlined the major issues he’d encountered since he began farming:
“So we started on what was the wettest planting season in history.
And then there was Brexit, and then there was COVID, and then we had the driest Spring in history…
“So it’s been a pretty good year to be thrown in at the deep end.”