Ben Barnett: Dales floods recovery is extra reason to embrace climate change fight

The Farm Recovery Fund has opened to help flood victims in the upper Dales overcome uninsurable losses. Picture by James Hardisty.
The Farm Recovery Fund has opened to help flood victims in the upper Dales overcome uninsurable losses. Picture by James Hardisty.

Nearly two months on from the devastating flash flooding that wrecked property and farmland in parts of the Upper Dales, the Government has  finally announced how farmers can apply for grant funding to aid the recovery.

It may have taken a while for the full details of the Farm Recovery Fund to become clear, but Defra has this week explained just what the £2m funding package entails. To be shared with farmers affected by the floods in the Wainfleet area of Lincolnshire, grants of between £500 and £25,000 are available to cover specific repair costs incurred from uninsurable flood damage.

Carl Lis, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, delivering an opening speech at the UK National Parks Conference at Coniston Hotel near Skipton this week. Picture by Tony Johnson.

Carl Lis, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, delivering an opening speech at the UK National Parks Conference at Coniston Hotel near Skipton this week. Picture by Tony Johnson.

The financial aid is available for farm restoration work such as rebuilding dry stone walls, re-cultivating productive land and replacing damaged field gates.

Helpfully, farmers are being given until March 31 next year to apply for a share of the funding via the Rural Payments Agency.

The violence of the sudden downpours in the middle of the summer was just another reminder of the need to act to avoid climate breakdown.

Farm recovery fund opens for flood-hit Yorkshire Dales farmers

'National Parks can be exemplars on mitigating climate change', says Yorkshire Dales chief

Theresa Villiers vows to put National Parks at heart of thriving rural economy

This week I was lucky to get an exclusive press invite to the opening day of the UK National Parks Conference, held in the Yorkshire Dales for the first time since 2000. Representatives from all 15 of the UK’s National Parks were there and a reoccurring topic was climate change and delivering better outcomes for the environment.

The imminent findings of the Glover review of designated areas will make for interesting reading. Commissioned to examine the remit of National Parks in the 21st century - 70 years on from the Peak District becoming Britain’s first National Park - a Defra deputy director told delegates at the Coniston Hotel near Skipton to expect the review to “urge a lot of ambition”.

There is vast potential to make better use of Britain’s largest continuous tracts of countryside to mitigate climate change.

Provided the guardians of these landscapes are properly compensated to accommodate tree planting and peatland restoration at scale, for example, the carbon capturing capacity of the natural world can be boosted in a way that takes rural livelihoods along with it.

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