A £10m fund for farmers suffering waterlogged fields will open for applications before the end of February, DEFRA has announced.
The government fund will make available up to £10m for a one-off grant scheme designed to support farm businesses to restore flooded agricultural land and bring it back into production as quickly as possible.
DEFRA said the scheme, announced by David Cameron last week, will be kept open for applications as long as possible given the uncertainty around floodwater levels receding.
It will be open to all farm businesses that require support but will be targeted at those areas most affected by the flood crisis, such as the Somerset Levels and the Thames region.
See also: How to assess flood-damaged grassland
DEFRA will announce further details and a single point of contact for email, post and telephone shortly.
“There is already money that is being spent by the Environment Agency. The £10m, that’s for future work. But people shouldn’t think that’s the limit of what will be done, and that’s going to involve dredging.”
Prime minister David Cameron
Prime minister David Cameron returned to the Somerset Levels for the third time on Wednesday (19 February) since the floods crisis hit the region.
Following a meeting with Somerset MPs, he announced that dredging of rivers on the levels would begin in March.
He also repeated his pledge that “money was no object” for the duration of the flooded relief effort and the government would spend “what was necessary” to tackle the problem.
Speaking during a press conference, Mr Cameron said: “There is already money that is being spent by the Environment Agency. The £10m, that’s for future work.
“But people shouldn’t think that’s the limit of what will be done, and that’s going to involve dredging.”
In a separate development, the government said a £4m fund would be available to fund Council Tax rebates for residents in about 6,500 homes that have flooded.
As he later visited flood-hit communities in Pembrokeshire, the prime minister tweeted: “I can confirm we will fund councils that give council tax rebates to people whose homes have been flooded.”
Meanwhile, the Environment Agency said 88 flood warnings remain across England and Wales, with two severe flood warnings still in place on the Somerset Levels.