Flood defence funding for farmers released

Flooding near Inskip, after Storm Desmond caused the River Wyre to breach its embankment
Flooding near Inskip, after Storm Desmond caused the River Wyre to breach its embankment

A Lancashire farmer thinks new funding to help prevent floods will have “a big impact”.

It comes as up to £720,000 is being made available to the county’s farmers, forestry and other land management sectors that flooded across last winter to work together on natural flood defences.

The money comes from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and successful applicants will be encouraged to plant trees, create water meadows and restore rivers to their natural meanders, along with other land management techniques to help slow the flow of rivers.

Something Anne Swale, of Stanley Farm in Sowerby near Preston, says will be a big help.

She said: “We were very badly flooded last December and we had to evacuate all of the animals from the farm. Work is still going on to repair the river banks but this money would go a long way to improving the situation.

“The main problem is water coming down from the hills, so anything that slows the course of the river down would help to prevent more flooding. Planting trees and creating water meadows would do that so this funding is definitely something we’ll be looking into.”

The funding is part of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund and the application process will be run by Natural England. Applicants are asked to discuss their proposals with Natural England before submitting a bid.

Farming Minister George Eustice said: “This new funding, alongside the £15m pledged for natural defences in the Autumn Statement, will help communities hit by last year’s flooding to better protect themselves.”

The deadline to apply for the funding is Wednesday, February 15 and for more details on applying go to www.gov.uk and search ‘Countryside Stewardship: facilitation funding’.