Payments to Scottish farmers under the Weather Aid Scheme (Scotland) 2013 have now started (as of September 19 2013).
A total of £728,406 has been processed for payment to 203 farmers. The payments should be in bank accounts within seven to 10 days. All successful applicants will be sent a letter telling them the amount they are being paid prior to payment.
The first tranche of letters to unsuccessful applicants have been sent out on Friday, September 27.
All applications are being assessed against the scheme criteria agreed by the Expert Working Group. The Group agreed that applicants should only be compensated for losses where the scheme criteria had been met.
Scottish Government officials are continuing to validate the remaining applications they received and ask for patience while the validation processes are ongoing.
There is no formal appeals process but applicants can write to the Weather Aid Scheme Team, Q1 Spur Saughton House, Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh, EH11 3XD or email IACSmailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk if they think their application has been processed incorrectly.
Weather Aid criteria
Weather Aid Scheme criteria was that farmers had:
• lost 10 per cent or more breeding ewes/lambs put to ram/goats.
• reared 20 per cent fewer lambs/kids in 2013.
• lost 5 per cent or more other breeding livestock.
• reared 10 per cent fewer calves/other livestock.
• re-sown 20 per cent or more of an arable crop.
The Weather Aid Group agreed the payments for losses which will be used in the payment calculations. These are:
- £120/£50 per ewe/lamb;
- £1200/£500 per cow/calf;
- £200 per hectare of agricultural crop.
Amount of compensation
The overall budget for this scheme is £5.75 million. For applicants that meet the criteria of article 11 of the block exemption, the maximum compensation a business may receive is 80% (or 90% if in an LFA) of income lost as a direct result of the climatic event in question.
Under the de minimis regulation, the maximum an applicant may receive is €7,500 (about £6,350) over any three consecutive years. The payments that will issue have been reduced by other known de minimis payments that were made in this period for example payments recently made under the Fallen Stock Fund. In the event of a budget shortfall all de minimis payments will be scaled back.
The Weather Aid Scheme (Scotland) 2013 was launched on 3 June 2013 following an announcement by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead that funds would be made available to compensate farmers for losses they experienced as a result of specific extreme weather events in 2012 and 2013. The scheme is now closed to new applications.
State aid compliance
The scheme will be covered by two Commission Regulations: No 1857/2006 (the Block Exemption) and No 1535/2007 (agricultural de minimis).