Guidance: Extreme weather guidance for farmers and land managers

Rural Payments Agency

January 10
13:50 2024

The government announced on 6 January 2024 that financial support will be available, through the Flood Recovery Framework, to communities and farmers affected by recent flooding.

The Farming Recovery Fund will also be available to farmers in the worst affected areas who have uninsurable damage to their land. Farmers will be able to apply for grants of up to 25,000 towards reinstatement costs. More information will be published about the fund in due course, including how to apply for a grant.

In the meantime, the guidance on this page gives more detail about what to do in extreme flooding events.

Contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) as soon as you can, if you think the extreme weather either:

  • means you may not be able to meet your agreement requirements
  • may change the area eligible for a scheme
  • may impact your reporting of movements of livestock

Please give details about the weather, including the date and time.

Short-term effects

When extreme weather means that you cannot temporarily manage your agreement according to theCountryside Stewardship(CS) orEnvironmental Stewardship(ES) option requirements, you can request a minor and temporary adjustment to those requirements. You need to complete the Minor and temporary adjustment (MTA) form.

Once you have filled in the form, post the form to us. Or you can scan it, thenemail it to usand include the following in the subject title:

  • Adjustment request
  • the scheme you need to request an adjustment for
  • your agreement or Single Business Identifier (SBI) number

If agricultural land or woodland is flooded

Flooded agricultural land or woodland may not affect land in aCS orESagreement, if the flooding is temporary and the land would otherwise still be available for agricultural activity. Please write to us and provide further detail to allow us to assess eligibility.

You should:

  • return the land to agricultural or woodland use as soon as practically possible
  • continue to meet the requirements of agreement options on the affected land parcels

Long-term effects

You should contact us when the impact of extreme weather is more serious and permanent, and prevents you from meeting either:

  • your scheme requirements
  • your agreement obligations for the current year

When to request a permanent change

Extreme weather can be considered under good reasons or force majeure if you are unable to meet scheme requirements or agreement obligations due to exceptional and unforeseeable circumstances outside your control.

Force majeure applies to ES agreements and CS agreements with a start date before 1 January 2023.

Good reasons applies to:

  • CS Higher Tier and Mid Tier and Wildlife Offer agreements with a start date of 1 January 2023 or later
  • CS Capital agreements from the 2022 application round, with agreement start dates from 2022 onwards

You may also need to consider requesting a permanent change to future years of your agreement.

ForESandCS, the impact may result in a permanent change to the agreement land, or land features, or both. This means that you can no longer manage the land according to the requirements of the options in your agreement. For example, a hedgerow or newly created woodland that is part of yourCSorESagreement has been destroyed, or as above, part of a land parcel may have been washed away.

When extreme weather changes your land permanently, you should check whether you need to make corresponding changes to your digital maps. It is important to let us know if this will change the areas youre able to manage underES,CSor a Woodland scheme.

How to request a permanent change

ForCSandESagreements, you mustemail or write to ususing the subject title Extreme weather, your Single Business Identifier (SBI), and your agreement numbers. You will need to provide written evidence to show:

  • what has happened
  • how the event means you are unable to meet the scheme rules or agreement requirements or both

You must send your email or letter within 8 weeks of being able to do so. This means within 8 weeks of the time you realise that you cannot meet any of the scheme requirements or agreement obligations. This may not be 8 weeks from the extreme weather event itself.

You will need to prove that, despite taking every care that could have been expected of you, the exceptional circumstances prevented you from meeting your obligations.

Your evidence should include details of the actions taken with an explanation of the events and the dates they occurred.

A Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) agreement is affected

Where there is a change of circumstances or your land is affected, you will need to contact RPA as soon as reasonably practicable. For more information, read the Good reasons for a breach in the Checking youre complying with your SFI agreement guidance.

A Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) Pilot agreement is affected

Where there is a change in your circumstances or your land is affected, you will need to contact RPA as soon as reasonably practicable. For more information, read the Good reasons for a breach in theSFI Pilots terms and conditions.

When Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) land is affected

IfSSSIland is affected and you need to carry out remedial work or boundary repairs or both, you may need consent from Natural England before you start any work.

Where you need to carry out emergency works you can do this without Natural Englands consent. However, you must notifyNatural Englandand include details of the emergency as soon as you can.

Farm Woodland Premium Scheme or English Woodland Grant Scheme is affected

If you have concerns about a grant scheme that is administered by the Forestry Commission rather than by the Rural Payments Agency, contact them directly using the relevant mailbox. If youre not sure what that is, emailthe Forestry Commission.

Deal with dangerous or fallen trees on your land

You do not need a felling licence to fell a dangerous tree or remove a fallen tree.

You should gather evidence that supports your decision that the tree was an imminent danger. If possible, you should take photos (with reference to scale) that show the tree setting and condition before and after felling or if fallen. Other forms of evidence might include maps, s

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