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Government increases farmers' flood fund share

The Environment Secretary has revealed that just a small proportion of the fund set up to help farmers recover from the floods has actually been spent.

So far just 40 farmers have been successful in claiming any money from the £10m fund - with many complaining it is too difficult or too complicated to apply.

Until now farmers in affected areas have been able to apply for up to £5,000. Today Owen Paterson was in Somerset to announce that was rising to £35,000.

Robert Murphy reports:

If you're a farmer and need some help applying for the flood recovery fund, you can ring Somerset County Council on 01823 355427 and speak to Abigail Vickery and Anne Langdon.

Environment Secretary accepts farmers' criticism

The Environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has accepted criticism from farmers who have complained it is too difficult to apply for flood recovery money.

The minister was in Somerset this morning to announce the next phase of funding.

Until now, flooded farmers could only apply for up to £5,000. Now they can apply for £35,000 worth of relief.

But some farmers say the forms are too complicated and difficult to complete.

If you're a farmer and need some help applying for the flood recovery fund, you can ring Somerset County Council on 01823 355427 and speak to Abigail Vickery and Anne Langdon.

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Owen Paterson to announce Flood Recovery Fund plan in Somerset

Owen Paterson is due to visit Somerset today Credit: PA

The Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, will be in Somerset this morning to announce the next phase of the flood recovery fund for farmers.

From 28 April, the Farm Recovery Fund will be open to applications for grants of up to £35,000.

Farmers will be able to apply for the cash to help cover the costs of restoring flood damaged agricultural land.

How £20 million flood plan money will be spent

Details have been revealed of how £20 million pounds will be spent on the Somerset Levels to prevent flooding. It includes raising a road near Muchelney - which was completely cut off by the flood water.

And that's just one of many schemes Somerset County Council says could be finished by the end of the year. Our Somerset correspondent David Woodland reports.

Thousands of sandbags cleared after the floods

Giant sandbags being removed after playing their part to protect homes and businesses in Moorland Credit: PA

Sedgemoor District Council has cleared 90,000 sandbags from flood-affected areas. A two-man crew has been operating almost continuously since the flood water subsided in Moorland and Fordgate on the Somerset Levels. They've also been clearing debris and damaged furniture.

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Somerset willow growers playing catchup after floods

Farms and businesses on the Somerset Levels are still trying to get back to normal after the floods over the winter. Now the water has been pumped away, the recovery effort begins.

It's the heart of the English willow industry, producing 'withies' for basket making. Growers are working hard to harvest their crops, which should have been cut months ago.

Bob Cruwys reports:

PM in the West Country to check on flood recovery

David Cameron visited Somerset in February when he took part in a meeting organising the flood relief effort Credit: ITV West Country

The Prime Minister is visiting the West Country today.

David Cameron last visited the region in February when he took part in a meeting of those co-ordinating the flood relief effort in Somerset. Today he'll see how communities and businesses are recovering after the bad weather.

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