WANTAGE MP Ed Vaizey has said the Environment Agency (EA) must loosen bureaucratic restrictions on farmers.

Oxfordshire farmers said their land had flooded partly because of EA restrictions against dredging rivers and streams on environmental grounds.

Following a recent meeting of Thames Valley MPs, Mr Vaizey, right, said: “I want to pay tribute to the work of self-help groups that were set up in many villages after the floods of 2007.

“Their success means that from now on they deserve more support and less bureaucracy, especially from the Environment Agency.”

He also called for Thames Water to be more directly involved with communities during flooding as, he said, “communications about sewerage problems were not as good as they should have been”.

Mr Vaizey’s parliamentary assistant Lynda Atkins said: “The problem was around communications, it was difficult to get sensible contact with Thames Water.”