Flood envoy hears of Yorkshire farmers' concerns

YOKRSHIRE farmers lobbied the Government's regional flood envoy on the need for better financial assistance for arable farmers whose crops were ruined as a consequence of the December storms.

Pictured left to right: Lucinda Douglas, NFU County Adviser, Richard Bramley NFU National Environment Forum member, Robert Goodwill MP and James Copeland NFU Environment and land Use Adviser.

Members of the local branch of the National Farmers’ Union met Robert Goodwill, the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, at his constituency office this week and said they were encouraged by his promise to raise a number of farmers’ concerns in Westminster.

The union’s regional environment and land use adviser James Copeland said a number of issues had been raised at the meeting, including the lack of flooding recovery support for arable farmers.

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“While the Farm Recovery Fund helps livestock farmers with the cost of re-seeding grassland, there is no similar support towards the cost of seed for cereal crops lost in the flood,” he said.

“As it is not possible to insure standing crops against flood damage we are asking the Government to extend the scope of the Farm Recovery Scheme to help those businesses get back on their feet.

“We are also pressing for a broader catchment wide approach to water management – as adopted by the progressive River Hull Valley Flood Risk Management Strategy – so it is good to hear Mr Goodwill’s views.

“He promised to raise several issues at Westminster and come back to us, so we hope it will be possible to make some progress towards achieving a more holistic approach to water management to the benefit of all local residents and businesses.”

During the meeting, Mr Copeland said that the MP had agreed that it was important to look at the wider water catchment area for longer term flood management, and what could be done strategically to help protect local homes and businesses.

He said Mr Goodwill was also keen to hear how the recent floods had affected the region’s farm businesses.

In Cumbria, the area worst affected by December’s floods, an NFU survey suggested the losses experienced by 144 farmers added up to a total of £1.7m.

Any farmers who wish to apply for the Farming Recovery Fund can contact Defra’s Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301.