Severe Weather Grants
Bouts of severe weather are prompting central and local government to think more carefully about weather plans. The plans that are emerging deal with issues such as gritting, the availability of salt and snowploughs. The aim is to keep roads clear and the economy moving.
Regional and national schemes to help repair severe weather damage are also appearing. The schemes offer grants to individuals and groups.
The Scottish Government’s Severe Weather GrantSnow in Scotland is common. In recent years, however, falls have been so heavy and prolonged that farm buildings have collapsed under the snow’s weight. The Scottish Government has therefore brought together insurers, the Scottish Agricultural College, the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the Tenant Farmers Forum and the Scottish Rural Property and Business Association to look at the matter.
In the first instance, the Government expects farmers to make insurance claims to repair or replace damaged buildings. But politicians realise that if collapsed farm buildings gave shelter to livestock, farmers must find immediate alternatives to protect their animals.
Most farmers rent buildings or use temporary shelters while they wait for the repair or replacement of original structures. This can be costly, and insurers may not cover the bills.
To help farmers, the Scottish Government has set up a fund of £3 million. Under the terms of the fund, a farmer can apply for a grant to offset the rent for a livestock building or the cost of a temporary shelter.
The maximum amount of a grant is £6,000. This applies no matter how many buildings severe weather has damaged.
East Riding of YorkshireThe East Riding of Yorkshire Council has set up a £175,000 severe weather grant scheme. More than 80 parish and town councils within the East Riding have applied for money from the scheme.
Successful applicants have bought salt, sand and grit for their local areas. They have also hired gritters and snowploughs.
The scheme has helped to keep roads and paths navigable despite the snow. Businesses have been able to remain open, and residents have been able to reach their workplaces and go shopping.
The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is the first local authority to have such a grant scheme.
Road RepairsAfter the severe weather of 2010, the Department for Transport put aside £100 million for repairs to roads. Councils can apply to the fund for grants to restore roads damaged by bad weather. Among the types of damage are potholes, cracks and collapsed drain covers.
Wild Bird FoodSevere weather in the winter can have a fatal effect on wild birds. Food becomes scarce and birds are unable to maintain their energy levels.
The UK regional governments support the need to maintain a healthy wild bird population. They offer grants aimed at improving the food sources for wild birds during the winter.
The grants are available to landowners and farmers who sow plots of wild bird seed. The seeds include quinoa, kale, millet and kale. To qualify for the grants, applicants must abide by criteria laid down by the regional governments. The information centres of each of the governments have the details.