£2 million Government flood fund opens for applications

Applications have opened for a £2 million Government fund to help northern farmers affected by summer flooding.

In July, parts of the Yorkshire Dales experienced some of the most intense rainfall ever, receiving 113mm of rain in just three hours.

While in June, farmers faced serious flooding after a flood embankment breached near Wainfleet in Lincolnshire.

Through the Farming Recovery Fund, farmers in North Yorkshire and Wainfleet who have suffered uninsurable damage to their property can apply for grants of between £500 and £25,000 to cover repair costs.

The grants are available for a range of farm restoration work, including rebuilding dry stone walls, re-cultivating productive land and replacing damaged field gates.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said: “This summer’s unprecedented weather wreaked havoc on farmland in North Yorkshire and Wainfleet. The Government is taking action to help farmers get back on their feet in light of the extensive damage suffered.

“I’m therefore delighted to open the Farming Recovery Fund and would encourage all those affected to check what they are eligible to apply for and to submit an application promptly to ensure they can access the money available to contribute to their restoration work.”

Farmers have until March 31, 2020, to submit an application to the Rural Payments Agency for this funding.

Rural Payments Agency (RPA) chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “I welcome the opening of Farming Recovery Fund today for applications, following the destruction caused by unprecedented weather earlier this summer.

“The RPA, alongside the NFU and CLA, has worked hard to get this scheme up and running, and we will continue to offer advice and support to affected farmers to complete their applications.”

Welcoming the announcement, National Farmers’ Union vice president Stuart Roberts said: “The reinstatement of the Farming Recovery Fund, which we called for, will be a huge relief to those farmers affected by the flooding events in the Yorkshire Dales and Lincolnshire.

We know from speaking to our members on the ground just how costly the clean-up is proving with some farmers facing bills of tens of thousands of pounds to remove stone from fields, rebuild fences and dry-stone walls, and clear up thousands of acres of lost crops.

“The NFU will continue to work with Defra to ensure that the scheme is implemented and farmers are able to apply for the funding they desperately need.

“These types of extreme and volatile weather events are becoming ever more frequent. We will continue to work with the Government to ensure it will take all necessary steps to protect productive farmland so farmers can continue to produce a supply of safe, traceable and affordable food for the nation and protect and enhance our rural landscapes.”