A very informative and well-attended talk entitled ‘Future Proof the Fens’ was given by Dr Laurie Friday at the monthly March Society meeting.

Dr Friday is a member of Cambridge University’s Centre for Landscape Regeneration.

It is completing a three-year study which includes addressing the effects of climate change and loss of biodiversity in the Fens.

Dr Friday provided many disturbing facts and information about the current challenges facing the Fens landscape and its population.

She explained that Fenland crops are an essential part of the UK’s economy and its food security.

However, continuous drying out and shrinkage of this fertile peat land has resulted in the Fens being the UK’s highest emitter of the greenhouse gas: carbon dioxide.

The shrinkage has also caused river levels in many places to be higher than the surrounding land.

Consequently, there are future risks of widespread flooding in the low-lying Fens.

If the sea-level rises the raised rivers may well break through onto the lower lying land and flood a huge area.

Solutions for these other urgent local problems, including restoration of biodiversity, are being researched by the Centre’s group of academics and researchers.

They are working with farmers, landowners, conservation groups, policy makers and local communities to address and mitigate the undesirable effects of our Fenland’s unique peat-based farming.

Dr Friday remarked that a 17th Century drainage system is not appropriate for the 21st Century. Waste water continues to be pumped away to the sea instead of being stored for use on the land.

So, ways to reduce the greenhouse gas, improve water retention and extend biodiversity in the Fens are being studied and then recommendations will be made to government and to stakeholders.

The March Society’s next event is on November 15 at 7pm in March Library when Mary Russell vice-president of March Rotary Club will give a presentation on the work of March Rotary Club.

Everyone is welcome. £2 for members, £3 visitors, including tea, coffee and biscuits.

Visit https://themarchsociety.chessck.co.uk or email info@themarchsociety.org.uk

The group is also on Facebook and Twitter.