Wednesday, May 29, 2024

NFU says Farming Recovery Fund is a post-storm washout

The NFU says there are major issues with the Government’s Farming Recovery Fund which opened earlier this week to support farmers affected by flooding from Storm Henk.

The Farming Recovery Fund was announced in the aftermath of Storm Henk to help those affected, with eligible farmers set to access grant support of up to £25,000, with those around Nottinghamshire’s Rivers Trent, Devon, and Soar being in the catchment. In Lincolnshire Lit covers the Witham, Brant, Welland, and Ancholme.

However, in a new statement released today, NFU Vice President Rachel Hallos has said it had very quickly become clear that there are major issues with the fund. She said: “We are hearing from numerous members who have suffered catastrophic impacts who have been told they are not eligible for the Fund because some of their affected areas are more than 150 metres from ‘main’ rivers. These include members with 90% of their land saturated or under water, and huge damage to buildings and equipment.

“We are taking this up with Defra urgently. I cannot believe this is what Ministers intended when they launched the Fund, which was a welcome and well-intentioned development which seems to have been fundamentally let down in the detail. While the impact of the weather goes far beyond Storm Henk, this could have been a good start but, as it stands, it simply doesn’t work.”

The grant is to support the cost of recultivating and reinstating agricultural land that was flooded due to notably high river levels between 2-12 January 2024, caused by Storm Henk.

The Rural Payments Agency is administering the fund on behalf of Defra, with landowners or tenant farmers who occupied eligible land parcels at the time of Storm Henk able to claim £130 per hectare for recultivation work.

Eligible farmers can access grants of between £500 and £25,000 to return their land to the condition it was in before exceptional flooding due to Storm Henk.


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