Call for Government help for Dales farmers after flooding

Photo: Guy Carpenter.

The Government has been urged to provide “immediate and significant” support to help farmers affected by this week’s flooding.

The NFU and other farming and rural organisations have met today to assess the extent of the damage in Swaledale, Arkengarthdale and Wensleydale. 

The groups, together with Richmondshire District Council, have called for funding to be released from the Farm Recovery Fund.

NFU regional director Adam Bedford said: “This week part of the Yorkshire Dales experienced some of the most intensive rainfall ever, with some areas receiving up to 113mm of rain in just 3 hours.

“The storm’s unprecedented nature has led to widespread damage to farms, homes, businesses and wider rural infrastructure. On farms, livestock and many walls, hedges and fences have been destroyed which has associated impacts on farmland.

“Many farmers are also reporting the loss of silage and hay bales which were harvested and stored for winter feed.

“Our meeting today was unanimous in the need for immediate and significant central government support to aid the recovery of the farms and villages affected in the Yorkshire Dales.”

Richmondshire District Council chief executive Tony Clark said: “As the lead authority dealing with the aftermath of the flood, we are working in partnership with all agencies on the clean-up and restoration needed.

“The farming and rural communities are banding together, as are support organisations who have met today. We reiterate our call for support from government to help us at this unprecedented time.”

Members of Forage Aid, a charity that supports farmers whose livestock has been affected by an extreme weather, attended Reeth Memorial Hall, where the community relief effort is being coordinated from, today to talk to farmers and help those who have lost their silage, hay and bedding in the flood waters.

Toni Calvert, who is helping to coordinate the relief effort, said: “The advice to farmers is not re-wrap or patch bales to feed contaminated food stuff at a later date to animals.

“They should also be vigilant due to diesel, heating oil, sewage, slurry and of course lead contamination.”

She added: “We have a good supply of small animal food been delivered to the hall from Swale Cets and feed merchants.

“If you need dog food, hen food, cat food let us know.

“We require details of farmers’ requirements for help once we can get this into them once damaged stock is cleared.

“Haulage firms are ready and on standby to deliver within 24 to 48 hours once we have established the information required.”

The NFU says it is working in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Farmer Network and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in order to assess the extent of the damage.