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Relief fund for flood-hit farmers open for applications today

About 600 farmers affected by Storm Desmond will be able to apply for grants of up to £20,000 under the Farming Recovery Fund, formally launched today.
Farmers affected by flooding will be able to apply for relief funding from today
Farmers affected by flooding will be able to apply for relief funding from today

Farmers hit by the recent flooding in the north of England will be able to apply for funding of up to £20,000 from today (December 18) under the Government’s Farming Recovery Fund.

 

The scheme will be available to farmers affected by Storm Desmond in Cumbria, Lancashire and Northumberland will remain open until March 18, 2016.

 


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flood

Using satellite imagery from the Copernicus system (see above) and working with the Environment Agency and the NFU on the ground, the Rural Payments Agency has identified about 600 flood affected farms in Cumbria and surrounding counties.

 

The agency said it would continue to gather information on the impacts and expected to reveal final figures of the numbers of farms affected over the coming weeks.

 

Eligible farmers will be able to claim grants of between £500 and £20,000 to cover the cost of restoring their farmland under the recovery fund, announced by Farming Minister George Eustice in the immediate aftermath of the floods.

 

In advance of applying, applicants are urged to take photos of the flood damage as quickly as possible and to submit these in support of their application.

 

Full details on how to apply including application forms, guidance and detailed criteria is available here

 

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “I’m pleased to announce the Farming Recovery Fund has opened to help farmers caught up in the recent flooding.
“Using satellite imagery from the Copernicus system, and working with the Environment Agency and National Farmers’ Union, we believe over 600 farms in Cumbria and surrounding counties have been affected.
“We are determined to help these communities get back on their feet and this fund forms part of a wider £60M package of government support for the area.”

What is the fund for?

The Farming Recovery Fund grant will help farmers restore agricultural production where they have suffered uninsurable losses.

It will cover:

 

  • The Restoration of Productive stock proof Grassland
  • The Restoration of Productive Arable and Horticultural Land
  • The Restoration of Field Access or Track ways, Fencing or Gates or Water Troughs
  • The Restoration of Drainage on flood-damaged holdings
  • Damage to Agricultural Machinery
  • Damage to Agricultural Buildings

 

Funding would include re-siting or re-location on the basis of improved positioning away from river edges, raising parapets or relocating to a less vulnerable access point in the field.

But eligible costs will not:

  • Include insured losses or items that insurance should normally cover
  • Cover applicants’ time and labour where actual costs are used
  • Cover the formal obligations farm businesses have in terms of the management of slurry or other activity that is the responsibility of Local Authorities.

More details

If the claim is eligible the RPA will send out a grant funding agreement which needs to be signed and sent back to them.

 

It is possible to claim retrospectively for essential work carried out between the December 5 and 18 such as securing the area for stock.

 

Following criticism over how long it took flood relief payments to reach farmers in Somerset last year, the RPA said it wanted to ensure farmers can access the money as quickly as possible.

 

The RPA said it wouldaim to make payments against valid claims direct into bank accounts within five working days.

 

Farmers experiencing difficulties accessing the details online can call the Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301 to access support in making an application.

 

The RPA reiterated the importance farmers documenting the extent of damage with photographic evidence.

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