The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) continues to work closely with farmers to provide practical help and advice to deal with the impact of the severe flooding on homes, farm businesses and the landscape in the North West.
“Farmers are facing some incredibly difficult conditions on their land right now, due to the August flooding and we want to do all we can to provide help and advice to support our farming community in the North West,” said Noel Lavery, DAERA Permanent Secretary.
“To help those affected we are, where possible, adopting a flexible approach to some requirements so that farmers are better able to deal with the problems caused by this extreme weather and restore their land.
“In all of this we also have a duty to take account of the impact such work may have on our environment and landscape. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has dedicated resources to help landowners as they try to come to terms with impacts such as major landslides and deposits of soil, stone and other materials and to prevent possible water pollution incidents. We hope these measures will go some way to helping farmers at this difficult time,” he added.
To help farmers and landowners, NIEA has highlighted the following advice and support:
- With much farmland covered in flooding debris including forage, soil and stones farmers can move this within their land without the need for a waste authorisation.
- If the material is to be moved off a holding, it becomes waste and there may be other requirements a landowner needs to consider. Advice or support on these matters can be obtained by calling NIEA on 028 9056 9360. NIEA have officers on standby to provide local, practical advice where feasible.
Working on an Area of Scientific Interest (ASSI)
- Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) are protected as they represent the best of our wildlife and geological sites.
- Before undertaking works, for example backfill of river erosion by depositing soil/stones in rivers that forms part of an ASSI you may require consent. If you are unsure whether your land forms part of an ASSI you can check using the Department’s Natural Environment Map Viewer: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/services/natural-environment-map-viewer.
- An application form can also be found at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/request-consent-carry-out-notifiable-operation-assi. Hard copies are available on request, call 028 9056 9516.
- To process your application quickly, provide as much detail as possible including a map.
- Landowners do not need consent from DfI Rivers for routine maintenance or removal of obstructions from watercourses unless these works will modify/divert the channel or impede the passage of fish. Should landowners need advice they should contact DfI Rivers on 028 8676 8342.
- If work needs carried out in a river with an important fishery habitat, contact the Loughs Agency 028 7134 2100.
Preventing water pollution
- The extreme weather and flooding may have resulted in some slurry tanks overflowing and causing pollution to a watercourse. This will be taken into account by NIEA if such a pollution incident is reported to them for investigation.
- Farmers are expected to take all possible steps to prevent any ongoing pollution to a watercourse. For advice, contact DAERA Countryside Management Branch on 0300 200 7842.
- NIEA have no significant concerns about fallen animals and environmental pollution, provided DAERA’s advice on fallen animals is followed.
Notes to editors:
- NIEA water pollution hotline is available 24 hours a day - 0800 807 060.
- For flooding advice, contact CAFRE advisors on 0300 200 7843.
- For advice on animal health and welfare, please contact DAERA on 0300 200 7840.
- All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office, telephone number 028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.
- Follow us on Twitter.