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Pressure on RPA will continue until all Farming Recovery Fund payments are made

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Last week, following extensive lobbying, the RPA wrote to those affected by the flooding events in the North of England to inform them that applications will be addressed by the end of May. The Fund supports farmers impacted by the flooding events of Storms Desmond and Eva, to restore their agricultural productivity with 1,100 applications to the scheme received. The RPA has received 596 applications from Cumbria, 158 from Lancashire and the NFU fought for nine applications to be included from Greater Manchester.
 
Contained within the RPA’s letter to the applicants is guidance for farmers who want to proceed with restoration work in advance of a decision on their application.
 
NFU North West Regional Director David Hall said: “Farming businesses affected by the floods need to get back to full production soon which means many will be forced into undertaking restoration works without knowing the outcome of their Farming Recovery Fund application. The Cumbrian Farm Flood Action Group urges any applicants thinking of taking this path to read the guidance from the RPA carefully to understand the risks involved.”
 
Managing Director of The Farmer Network Adam Day added: “Until these essential funds are paid to those who need it most the RPA can expect significant pressure from the Cumbrian Farm Flood Action Group locally.”
 
That pressure will be replicated nationally by the NFU with NFU Deputy President Minette Batters less than impressed.
 
“We have pressed the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in recent weeks to ensure greater clarity for the hundreds of farmers yet to receive confirmation that their Farming Recovery Fund (FRF) application has been processed. It's important to remember why these applications were made - to recover from devastating flood damage this winter. These farmers have faced weeks of uncertainty over access to the flood recovery fund, piled on top of delays this winter to their BPS payments. This is totally unacceptable and must be resolved as a matter of urgency.
 
The RPA has now written to those affected by the flooding events in the North of England to inform them that applications will be addressed by the end of May. This delay is potentially devastating for affected businesses. However we are pleased that RPA has streamlined the process so that applications can be approved more rapidly. Approvals are vital to enable members to get on with their recovery work.
 
“The NFU will continue to work closely with the RPA to produce greater guidance on the evidence which is required to be gathered, before, during and after recovery works take place, to receive the full amount of funding requested.”