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Flood funding available

Published: 1 Feb 2016 13:52

Applications open for floodbank repair grant scheme.

Farmers affected by recent floods will be able to apply for a grant to help repair man-made floodbanks from today Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed.

The Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme was announced by the First Minister earlier this year, with £1 million being set aside to fund the repair of man-made floodbanks on farms in nine local authorities: Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Perth and Kinross, Stirling, South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, City of Aberdeen, Angus and East Ayrshire.

The Scottish Government has worked in partnership with NFU Scotland to develop a scheme that will deliver targeted help with minimal red tape.

Mr Lochhead said:

"Farmers who require support to restore man-made floodbanks on their farms can now apply for the Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme. This scheme is made up of £1 million funding and will cover the standard costs of repairs, up to a cap of £20,000 per business, and cover farmers affected by flooding in nine local authorities during December and early January.

"I also recently announced a number of measures to complement this scheme, including flexibility on greening and cross compliance rules, following a visit to a farm in Perthshire, where it was jaw dropping to see the scale and impact of the flooding.

"SEPA will also take a pragmatic approach while farmers turn their efforts to getting things back to normal."

NFUS President Allan Bowie said:

"Flooding has taken a terrible toll on farmland across Scotland with the severity and ferocity of the floods taking out many long-established flood defences. This scheme, requested by NFUS, offers welcome support to flood-hit farmers. I urge those with damaged floodbanks to apply before the deadline closes at the end of February with applications to be approved shortly after. It is important to note that grant approval will be needed prior to any repair works commencing. Farmers should apply to the scheme as soon as possible."

Terry A'Hearn, Chief Executive of SEPA, said:

"SEPA understands the hardship and damage caused by the recent floods. I welcome the introduction of this grant scheme, and I'd like to take this opportunity to clarify that SEPA does not need to be contacted for the repair of man-made flood banks. Our officers continue to be on standby to assist farmers where required."

Notes to editors

Applications for the Agricultural Floodbank Repair Grant Scheme are available online at https://www.ruralpayments.org/publicsite/futures/topics/all-schemes/floodbank-repair-scheme/

Completed forms (along with supporting evidence) should be emailed to afrs@gov.scot by Monday 29 February 2016, however, if farmers are in a position to apply in advance of the end of this window the Scottish Government would encourage them to do so in order that checks on applications can be made with a view to approving applications as soon as is practicable after 29 February. Farmers must also post a signed hard copy to SGRPID, P1 Spur, Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh, EH11 3XD. Paper applications are also available in local area offices.

Following confirmation that their application has been approved farmers will have until June 30 2016 to complete the repairs.