Funding for flood damage not available

Claire Bainbridge, rural chartered surveyor at George F White.
Claire Bainbridge, rural chartered surveyor at George F White.

Farmers are being advised to inform Defra if their land was affected by flooding even though they are not currently eligible for compensation, land and property consultancy George F White has warned.

Currently, the Farming Recovery Fund is only available to those who were flooded in the December storms. However, vast areas of rural Northumberland suffered extensive damage during the first week in January.

Claire Bainbridge, a rural chartered surveyor at George F White, said: “The fund is available for damage caused by extreme circumstances and January’s flooding have not been listed as extreme, like December’s storms. We strongly disagree with this as for those businesses affected it is no less devastating, with long-term and possibly irreversible results.

“For example, we are currently working with one client who has lost more than 30 acres of land as the River Till has adjusted its course and made an island of a previously productive field.

“In fact, all along the River Till, many farmers are struggling with the loss of fences, stone walls and water gates as well as damaged crops and loss of grazing.

“The damage has been exacerbated by most of the land being protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

“This means that those farmers will be unable to remedy any damage without consent.”

George F White is currently campaigning to get the damage caused in the January floods covered by the Farming Recovery Fund.

Ms Bainbridge added: “At the moment, it’s a chicken and egg situation; farmers are not applying for the fund as the dates do not cover the January storms, yet Defra will not know of the extent of the damage unless farmers report it.

“There is no guarantee that they will adjust the dates, however, it will be important to send in evidence of the damage to build a case for a potential date extension.”