13 December 2000
Unions step up storm aid lobby

By FWi staff

AS STORMS returned to lash much of the country, farmers representatives stepped up efforts secure help for flood-hit producers.

It was a feeling of déjà vu for many people on Tuesday night as parts of England and Wales were hit by 70mph winds and rainfall exceeded 20mm.

The Environment Agency said 134 flood warnings were in place on rivers around the country, with Worcestershire and Somerset likely to be the worst hit.

Many householders were still mopping up after widespread floods in the autumn when they became victims of this latest battering.

In response, the National Farmers Union has announced that it is to carry out a nationwide audit to quantify the extent of the weather damage on farms.

And in Wales, NFU Cymru Wales has called upon the National Assembly to help farmers devastated by the recent floods.

The NFU plans to compile a report on-farm losses, estimating the extent of uninsured losses and providing photographs of the chaos.

This will be presented to agriculture minister Nick Brown, who has already been briefed on widescale implications by NFU president Ben Gill.

The union believes the impact study will demonstrate the need for flexibility from Government and Europe.

Questionnaires will be distributed to farmers and growers through the NFUs regional offices, and made available on its website.

In Wales, NFU Cymru president Hugh Richards wants rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones to be flexible on the interpretation of rules for livestock support.