SIR - Further to my letter (May 16). It is essential to clear up any misunderstandings Helen Smart has regarding hedging and ditching in the countryside and to refute her allegations that farmers are responsible for rural flooding.

According to Ms Smart I have missed the "massive hedging and ditching programme which is under way".

Since the Government introduced the Agricultural Cross Compliance rules hedge cutting is only permitted from August to the end of February. This fact might explain why I have missed all this non-existent hedge trimming which is presently under way.

Similarly, farmers are discouraged from regular ditching operations by DEFRA "to provide undisturbed wildlife habitat". The large amount of drainage work Ms Smart will have seen recently mostly involves the highways authorities. They are still busy repairing a huge number of road drains and culverts blocked and damaged in last year's flooding.

Jon Burgess, Malvern.