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ada gazette SPRING 2014 | NEWS Defra Farming Recovery Fund Announced TIM VICKERS


On 11 February, the Prime Minister David Cameron announced that a £10 million Farming Recovery Fund (FRF) would be made available as part of a comprehensive package of measures to help people in fl ood-hit areas following the exceptional widespread winter fl ooding. The fund is designed to help aff ected farm


businesses in England restore land to agricultural production. Farming Minister George Eustice stated that the fund was needed to help farmers directly aff ected meet short-term costs as the fl ood waters recede in order to get their businesses


back on track as soon as possible. He also spoke at the 2014 NFU Conference in Birmingham. He told delegates: “The fund aims to


off er support with four key areas and assist with uninsured losses to help get farms back into production again. This will include help with restoring land, fi eld access for vehicles and improving fi eld drainage. “From 1 April, rural


4. Improvements to agricultural drainage on fl ood-damaged land


 drainage improvement materials  contractor costs for drainage improvement


For these areas of recovery the intervention/grant rate covers up to 100% of eligible costs. Three exceptional circumstances including


damage to agricultural machinery and buildings are also listed for which the Government would not normally expect to fund activity however applicants may include appropriate cases for


• The Canal & Rivers Trust has been named 'Charity of the Year'. After being launched just 18 months ago, the Trust was given the award by People's Postcode Lottery primarily for raised public awareness and support of a project to help save the nation’s historic hedgerows which is so important for biodiversity. In making the award, players of People’s Postcode Lottery gave a special one-off £50,000 cheque to support the their work. It also committed to increase the Trust’s annual grant by 25% to £125,000.


• Environment Agency to cut 15% of workforce. Environment Agency announced 1,700 job cuts by the end of 2014. Reducing staff numbers by 15% from 11,400 to 9,700, it is clear that 500 of these staff members are directly involved with fl ooding. The job cuts follow George Osborne’s spending review in June 2013 where Defra’s budget was cut by 10% in real terms between 2014/15 and 2015/16. To read more visit www.endsreport.com/41653/environment- agency-cuts-surviving-the-surgeons-knife.


Farms suff ering fl ooding, such as the ones illustrated here and above, can apply for grants under the FRF (Environment Agency)


homes and businesses impacted by the fl oods will also have access to one-off grants of up to £5,000 to help towards fl ood resilience. “These grants will cover up to 100 per cent


of the eligible costs and a second part of the fund will be held back initially until the extent of the damage can be assessed. The upper limit for grants will be under constant review.” As quoted by George Eustice, under this new


scheme, all farmers aff ected by the fl ooding will be able to apply for emergency funding of between £500 and £5,000, covering up to 100% of their business costs. The majority of the Farming Recovery Fund


will be reserved for farm businesses whose farms remain fl ooded. Unlike the initial grant, the upper limit of this funding will be set when the impact on these longer term losses from fl ood damage are clearer, once the fl ood waters recede. The available support covers 4 key areas of


recovery. These are:


1. The restoration of productive grassland  perennial grass seed costs (if not supplied from other sources)


 contractor costs for soil restoration  soil compaction equipment costs


2. The restoration of productive arable and horticultural land


 contractor costs for soil restoration  soil compaction equipment costs  not covered: cost of annual agricultural crop seed or plant costs


3. Restoring fi eld access/track ways  restoration materials for access / track ways  contractor costs for restoration of access/ track ways


www.ada.org.uk


Application process: The FRF is open for applicants from Friday


28 February. Defra has published guidance for applicants at: www.gov.uk/government/ publications/farming-recovery-fund-guidance- for-applicants The application window will be open for 10


weeks, closing on 9 May 2014. Applications for funding must include enough eligible expenditure to allow a grant of at least £500 with the maximum total grant per benefi ciary being £5000. The limit currently sits at £5000 as Defra state that they are holding back further funding at this stage to allow for a second phase of support to be off ered to those that have been, and continue to be most severely aff ected by the exceptional rainfall. All applicants are required to provide evidence (such as photographs) of loss to support their application. Environment Agency fl ood data will also be reviewed, matched to RPA holdings data, to confi rm that an applicant’s holding is within an area where fl ooding has occurred. See the guidance document for further information.


consideration. In these cases, a claim can be made for up to 50% of eligible costs. Additionally, the £10 million Farming and


Forestry Improvement Scheme will off er eligible farmers grants of up to £35,000 on schemes designed to make businesses more resilient.


• The fi rst WEM edition of the Current Magazine. Current is a magazine produced jointly by the Environment Agency,


its


Water and Environment Management (WEM) and National Cost Management Framework (NCMF) partners. The magazine takes contributions from each of the EA’s partners and is produced by a representative editorial board. The magazine is designed to be an informative newsletter, mixing articles that highlight good practice and innovation with news and up to date features. A fi rst WEM edition has been published. This fi rst issue introduces the new Water and Environment Management (WEM) Framework and its partners. It exposes the expertise of the new suppliers and highlights areas of innovation, best practice or success in helping to make effi ciencies in time, resources or cost. This edition is available to view at www.environment-agency.gov. uk/research/library/publications/119269.aspx


• England River Prize.The Environment Agency, in partnership with the River Restoration Centre has created a prize to celebrate the best catchment based river restoration projects in England, recognising successful approaches to river restoration. Projects involving rivers, wetlands and estuaries are all eligible to enter. River restoration and the naturalisation of fl oodplains work with nature to help control fl oods, also provideing improved natural habitats, enhanced recreational facilities and urban and rural landscapes. The prize will be awarded at the RRC annual conference at Sheffi eld Hallam University on 7th May


2014.


Entries can be submitted at www. riverfoundation.org.au/event.php?e=2065.


13 IN BRIEF:


Environment Agency


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