FARMERS must be fairly paid for schemes on their land that reduce the risk of flooding, such as planting trees or storing water, it has been urged.

The National Farmers Union's new manifesto for flooding also calls for a "proper assessment" of the value of farmland when deciding investment in flood defences.

A more long-term, strategic approach is needed on flooding, with more decisions made at the local level where people know about conditions in their river catchments, the farming organisation said.

The updated manifesto for flooding comes after the winter storms of 2015/2016, which caused widespread damage in parts of the UK including Cumbria and Yorkshire.

The floods cost tens of thousands of pounds for farmers such as Richard Bramley, from near York, whose land has flooded eight times in the past 16 years, and Steve Dunning, from Cumbria, who is rebuilding his livestock buildings further uphill after the damage caused by Storm Desmond.

Farmland is not properly valued in assessments which decide where flood defences go, the NFU said, and it says the system should be reviewed while farmers are not compensated for flooding on their land which reduces risks to more urban areas.

Flooding and water management in river and coastal areas should be properly funded to protect urban and rural businesses and communities, and the split between capital spending on new projects and maintain existing ones should be removed.

Natural flood management schemes can be part of the solution, for example by planting trees or hedgerows to slow the flow of water downhill, as part of total catchment management, but they must be planned, agreed and paid for, the NFU said.

Minette Batters, NFU deputy president, said: "Farming is often at the mercy of extreme weather, but more frequent, more expensive and longer duration flooding is an unsustainable and inequitable outcome which causes damage to farming, food producing businesses and rural communities."

The government should establish a long-term strategic plan for flood and coastal management, designed to deal with extreme events and with consideration to the impact of infrastructure and new development on raising the risk of flooding for agricultural land, she said.

"Crucially we believe that the importance and contribution of our food and farming sectors to the economy must not be overlooked. This is a £108 billion industry which provides some £3.9m jobs.

"Some of our most productive and highest value agricultural land is in the flood plain or coastal regions, vulnerable to flooding and deserves to be protected," she said.

"We also recognise that farming has a key role to play in flood management.

"Where farmers provide a service in mitigating flood risk to help protect others, this must be coherent, planned component of catchment management for which farmers must be fairly compensated.

"In short our strategy is to manage flood risk by planning, protecting and paying."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: "We recognise the devastating effect flooding can have on farmers and their land.

"That is why we are working closely with farmers as part of our long-term £2.5bn investment programme to better protect the country.

"Our 25-Year Environment Plan will further develop our catchment-based approach to managing rivers as a whole.

"The Autumn Statement announced an additional £15m for natural flood management and rural landowners are already playing a big role in these schemes, which help protect both local farms and communities further downstream by tackling flooding along the entire length of a river."