UK - The UK government has set out four key areas for recovery for British farming following the devastation caused by recent floods.
Speaking at the National Farmers Union Conference in Birmingham, farming minister George Eustice outlined the details of a £10 million Farming Recovery Fund to offer farmers support with uninsured losses and to help them get back into production.
The aid will go to help restore grasslands killed under the water as well as productive arable and horticultural land.
The fund will also assist in restoring field access for vehicles and improving field drainage.
“To provide fast support for those farms that have been flooded, there will be an immediate response fund with grants of up to £5000, which cover up to 100 per cent of the eligible costs,” Mr Eustice said.
“There will be a second part of the fund, which will be held back initially to that funds are still available to help those farms, which continue to be affected but where it is too soon to be able to assess the full extent of the damage.”
Mr Eustice added that the government has also made changes to the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme to help farms in flooded areas.
Rural homes and businesses are also to be given grants of up to £5000 to help them be more resistant and resilient to floods.
The initial response to the floods has been a £130 million crisis fund to help repair damaged flood defences.
Mr Eustice said that spending on flood defences has also been made a priority for the government with £2.4 billion having been spent n flood defences in the last four years.
The government has also committed itself to spend a further £2.3 billion on flood defences between 2015 and 2021.
“We have suffered the wettest winter for the last 250 years and the impact has led to thousands of properties being flooded and many families’ lives being turned upside down,” Mr Eustice said.
Retiring NFU president Peter Kendall said: “If these last months have taught us anything, it’s that more and more land will end up under water more and more often if we don’t change how we allocate flood defence spending and how much we allocate.”
He said that 58 per cent of the UK’s agricultural land is below the 5 metre contour line and is at risk of flooding.
“Policy makers simply have to put a higher value on it,” he said.