Farmers and other owners of flood-hit land and property in Northern Ireland are being advised by the North’s Department of Agriculture (DARD) to apply for non-domestic Emergency Financial Assistance.

The Northern Ireland Executive approved an Emergency Financial Assistance Scheme on March 10, 2016.

This was in response to the flooding experienced following the heavy rainfall between November 12 and December 30, 2015.

A spokesperson for DARD said that the scheme will provide flood assistance of £1,000 to non domestic properties and small businesses, including farm businesses.

“It will also include recreational and community buildings and places of worship.

“It is a one off extension to the existing DOE scheme operated by local councils and will jointly-funded by DARD and DOE.

“DARD will also provide a technical assessment of eligibility in relation to farm businesses if required.”

The scheme will be open for applications from April 4 to 30.

Further guidance and application forms will be available on the local council websites from April 4.

DARD is reminding farmers that the scheme has a range of criteria:

  • The claim is eligible where a loss incurred was not insurable;
  • Only small businesses can apply (employing less than 25 people);
  • Farm businesses will include farmyards and land farmed by the business;
  • Farmland must have been underwater for at least 14 days and incurred additional cost due to reduced productivity or unplanned sward restoration / reseeding work;
  • Businesses must have been unable to operate due to constrained access for at least 14 days; and
  • Businesses must be able to demonstrate a remedial cost to the business of at least £1,000.

According to DARD, only farmers whose land farmed has been significantly affected as a result of sustained high levels in Lough Neagh and Lough Erne will be considered.

“It is planned to define and publish a list of eligible areas ahead of scheme opening.

“Anyone responsible for a non-domestic property impacted by the recent flooding is encouraged to contact your local council or NI Direct (0845 3044508) for more details,” a spokesperson said.