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Scotland’s agricultural sector heavily impacted by Storm Babet

Scotland's agricultural sector heavily impacted by Storm Babet

Entire crops were lost and farmlands inundated as Storm Babet struck Scotland between October 19 and 22, 2023. The River Esk in Brechin overflowed its 3.8 m (12.5 feet) high flood walls, leading to unprecedented flooding in areas like Angus and Perthshire.

Storm Babet’s impact on Scotland’s agricultural sector from October 19 to 22, 2023, was catastrophic, with entire crops being wiped out and severe flooding affecting farmlands and storage facilities. Notably, the River Esk in Brechin reached alarming water levels of 5 m, well beyond the flood walls that stand at 3.8 m (12.5 feet).

Amy Geddes, an arable farmer from Wester Braikie Farms near Arbroath, Angus, shared reports from NFU Scotland’s eastern Scotland WhatsApp group, describing the situation as “awful” and “heartbreaking.” Geddes noted, “Potato stores along the River Esk area will be severely flooded by now. Farms have lost entire crops. The Southesk Estate in Angus will be absolutely devastated.”

The situation was further exacerbated by a history of recent flooding in Scotland. Earlier this month, rural areas had already sustained significant damage due to extensive flooding, making farms and rural dwellings more vulnerable to this new wave of extreme weather.

Martin Malone, NFU Mutual manager for Scotland, had previously warned about the increasing susceptibility of rural areas to extreme weather conditions. This warning now stands validated as farms across Scotland are counting the costs of Storm Babet’s destruction.

The storm not only wreaked havoc in Scotland but also had adverse impacts in other European countries. While the focus remains on the agricultural damage in Scotland, it’s noteworthy that severe flooding and weather warnings were also reported in countries like Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Germany.


1 Storm Babet wreaks flooding havoc on Scottish farms – Farmers Weekly – October 20, 2023

2 Storm Babet leaves a trail of destruction across Scotland and Ireland, affects transportation in Sweden, Norway, and Germany – The Watchers – October 20, 2023

Featured image credit: HM Coastguard (stillshot)


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