A FARMER is calling on a charity to fulfil its promise to erect a fence on his land after losing thousands of pounds when five calves died.

Geoffrey Hutchinson wants the Tees River Trust to install the safety measure as he says it it no longer safe to allow his cattle to graze on one of the fields as he fears losing more livestock.

He said the charity removed a weir on his farm to encourage salmon and trout into the beck but he believes the work has damaged the wildlife environment with a loss of kingfishers and water voles.

The farmer, whose family has been working on Fieldhouse Farm, Greatham, near Seaton Carew, for three generations, feels let down by the trust after waiting more than 12 months for it to build a new fence.

The Northern Farmer:

He said: “I have had site visits with people from the trust and they promised me that they would erect a fence to stop it happening again but they have never been back.

"I’m a tenant farmer and can’t afford to be losing livestock – it has cost me thousands of pounds. I can’t use the field where the weir was any more just in case it happens again – the adults can cross it fine, but it’s the calves that struggle.

“When they removed the weir, they said it would improve wildlife with more fish coming up the beck, but as far as I’m concerned it has caused more damage.”

The Northern Farmer:

Ben Lamb, of the Tees River Trust, said the work carried out was necessary.

He said: “The weir had for many years been causing a problem for flooding adjacent and upstream land and records show that landowners had been keen to do something about it since the early 1980s.

“The trust removed the weir to encourage species such as European eel, now a critically endangered species, and other species such as sea trout and flounder to make use of the available water.

"The beck is an important Tees Tributary for migrating fish because it is one of the few that are positioned below the Tees Barrage.”