CLA land use policy adviser Fraser McAuley writes about the recent flooding in Yorkshire and the Midlands
It is undeniable that the heavy rainfall deluging most of the country is causing huge amounts of damage to homes, businesses and farmland. Swathes of rain have fallen across the country with parts of South Yorkshire and the East Midlands being the most affected. North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire haven't even had time to recover, having already been badly hit by flooding only a few weeks ago.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with those who have had to evacuate their homes and hope they are able to access the help and support they need to get back on their feet. Wales has also been hit by large volumes of rain and if you are a Polisi Cymru member you are encouraged to check the Natural Resources Wales website to find out more as the details below apply to England only.
This week the CLA has been seeking to ensure the relevant Government agencies take every action possible to help those affected by the heavy rainfall. Letters have been sent to the under-secretary of state, Rebecca Pow, the Rural Payments Agency and the Environment Agency outlining the need for the extension of the farm recovery fund (set up following the flooding events in Wainfleet and North Yorkshire) in addition to consideration of possible derogations.
Theresa Villiers, Defra secretary, subsequently called the president and confirmed the fund would be extended and I and colleagues from CLA North dialled into an RPA teleconference this morning to find out more. At the moment the exact details are still being worked out but it will be similar to the fund currently open to those in Wainfleet and parts of North Yorkshire. I will continue to work with our regional teams to push the RPA to ensure the fund is available as early as possible for those worst affected by the flooding. It is important to document as much of the flooding damage to your farm or buildings in the form of photographs. These will be vital if you apply for the flood recovery fund when it opens.
We also discussed the impact of the flooding on cross-compliance in relation to the Basic Payment Scheme. Members are urged to check the following link which outlines what you can do if they think you may not be able to meet the requirements of the Basic Payment Scheme or an agri-environment scheme. If you are concerned around your ability to meet crop diversification rules then please email me at email@example.com. I will be continuing to speak with the RPA over the coming weeks and months and will keep member informed around potential future derogations.