19 January 2001

Welsh fodder aid

FLOOD hit Welsh farmers could be eligible for special fodder aid if spring comes late this year.

After a two-day tour of farms in north Wales, Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Assemblys rural affairs minister, acknowledged the huge uninsurable losses suffered by many producers, but he insisted that EU regulations and spending constraints meant there was only an outside chance of aid.

However, if the Treasury was prepared to find the cash, he was willing to use technical and meteorological data to make the case for regional help similar to that paid out after storm damage in France and Germany.

He told farmers during the tour that regulations regarding set-aside and the Arable Area Aid Scheme would be interpreted liberally in areas where land was flooded up to three times last year. Local authorities and the Environment Agency might get help with the cost of repairing and strengthening flood defences.