Flooding in Cumbria© FLPA/REX Shutterstock

Flood-hit farmers in north-west England will be able to claim up to £20,000 to help restore damaged agricultural land, Defra has announced.

The funding forms part of a £40m Community Recovery Scheme announced by Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday (9 December).

Defra minister George Eustice said: “We understand flooding can have serious consequences for farmers and we want to provide practical support to those affected.”

See also: Stewardship rules eased for flood-hit farmers

The fund is available to farmers in Cumbria and north Lancashire.

“The new Farming Recovery Fund will help to cover farmers’ short-term uninsured recovery costs, such as repairing damaged soils, tracks and flood channels,” said Mr Eustice.

And he pledged: “We will pay out on all eligible applications and we hope it will offer some relief at this challenging time.”

The Farming Recovery Fund will provide assistance with four key areas, including:

  • Restoring productive grassland
  • Recovering productive arable and horticultural land
  • Restoring farm vehicle access
  • Repairing agricultural drainage.

In addition, the Rural Payments Agency has said it will not carry out inspections in the flooded areas.

The agency said it would also make use of any flexibility in cross-compliance and animal movement rules for farmers who had been affected by unprecedented rainfall.

Relaxing inspection requirements in the flood-hit areas would enable farmers to focus all their efforts on getting back up and running, said Mr Eustice.

Farmers who want to apply for the Farming Recovery Fund should call the Rural Services helpline on 03000 200 301.