UK - The UK's Farming Minister, George Eustice, has confirmed that support payments worth up to £20,000 will be available to farmers across Cumbria and North Lancashire who have been affected by flooding.
The payments are part of a £40million Community Recovery Scheme announced by the Chancellor to help hard-working people in flood-hit areas following the record rainfall in parts of North West England, taking the total of government support pledged to over £60 million.
In addition the Rural Payments Agency will not carry out inspections in the flooded areas and will make use of any flexibility in cross compliance and animal movement rules for affected farmers.
Farming Minister George Eustice said: "We understand flooding can have serious consequences for farmers and we want to provide practical support to those affected by last weekend’s unprecedented rainfall in Cumbria and North Lancashire.
"The new Farming Recovery Fund will help to cover farmers’ short-term uninsured recovery costs, such as repairing damaged soils, tracks and flood channels. We will pay out on all eligible applications and we hope it will offer some relief at this challenging time.
"I am also pleased to confirm the RPA will be relaxing inspection requirements on farmers in the flood-hit areas so farmers can focus all their efforts on getting back up and running."
The Farming Recovery Fund will provide assistance with four key areas, including:
- Restoring productive grassland
- Recovering productive arable and horticultural land
- Restoring farm vehicle access and,
- Repairing agricultural drainage.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) welcomed the announcement.
NFU Deputy President Minette Batters said: “We are still assessing the full extent of the damage across the area, but it has become clear to us that action is needed across a wide area of Northern England. The fund, announced quickly will help those who have been badly affected by the recent floods.
“Importantly, this fund must meet the needs of the farmers in the affected areas. It is essential that farming families receive the funds that Government has pledged to specifically help farmers to help restore their land. Removal of gravel & woody debris left after the waters have receded and the restoration of walls and fences are all key issues.
“We will be working with Defra and its agencies on the detail of the announcement as flooding continues to damage and disrupt farm businesses. Meanwhile, we also welcome the pragmatic approach that is being taken by agencies such as the Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency in the aftermath of the floods.”
Farmers who want to apply for the Farming Recovery Fund should contact the Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301.
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