The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed that more than 3,800 bridging payments worth about £43 million have been successfully made to farmers and land managers.
In recognition of the disruption to cash flow for rural businesses due to Covid-19, the interest-free loans covered Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship 2019 payments and are worth 75 per cent of the current estimated value of the claim.
With payments made to all eligible outstanding claimants by the end of May, RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “I am pleased to announce that we have issued all bridging payments to unpaid Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship claims.
“We know this is a challenging period for farmers and we will continue to focus on completing the remaining work on these claims to ensure land managers are paid as quickly as possible.”
Welcoming the news, NFU vice-president Tom Bradshaw said he was ‘delighted’ the RPA had met its target, adding: “Farmers have finally been rewarded for their vital work enhancing and protecting our environment.
“This is a positive step and I call on RPA to make full payments for 2020 in December following what has become a hugely challenging year as a result of Covid-19, a relentlessly wet winter, and now the on going dry weather.”