SOME land management requirements demanded by Environmental Stewardship agreements have been put on hold for farmers struggling with flooded land.
Natural England is making derogations available to allow more flexibility to deal with the wet weather. It said these will be considered on an individual basis as the impact will be different from farm to farm.
Natural England’s Geoff Sansome said: “Farmers are currently facing some very difficult conditions and we want to ensure that appropriate derogations are in place to help ES agreement holders tackle some of the problems that this exceptionally wet weather is causing.”
Natural England said that the in some cases, the wet ground meant it would be difficult to establish grass margins, nectar pollen and wildbird mixes this winter and work on implementing this ES option may now have to wait until next spring.
Farmers and land managers can get advice about Environmental Stewardship agreements and available derogations either through their local Natural England adviser or by calling Natural England on 0300 060 0011.
Meanwhile, more than 500 claims relating to flooding have been received by rural insurer NFU Mutual and it expects the tally to grow in the coming days.
The insurer put its emergency disaster plan into action on Friday, when the scale of flooding became apparent.
The plan allows staff, loss adjusters and flood damage restoration companies to target the worst-affected areas.
Chief claims manager Matthew Scott said: “We have already received hundreds of weather-related claims from across the UK and expect more to come in over the next few days.
“Although it’s too early to put an accurate figure on the cost of claims, we could be looking at a total bill of up to £20m for NFU Mutual alone.
“In addition to flooded farms, many rural businesses, such as hotels, shops, offices and workshops have also suffered extensive damage.”
The insurer is also dealing with commercial claims for flood damage to farm buildings, stored crops and farm equipment.