Farm minister announces a string of measures, including a derogation for the on-farm burial of fallen stock in England, to help farmers cope with severe conditions.

Farming minister David Heath has written to the NFU and local authorities in England detailing a series of measures designed to help farmers cope with the severe weather.

According to Met Office figures, March 2013 was the second coldest on record, with the many sheep and lambs dying in the freezing conditions.

Welsh chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop has already announced a seven-day moratorium on rules preventing the burial of fallen stock on farm, while the Scottish government has given a £500,000 subsidy to farmers to help.

On April 3, 2013, Mr Heath announced a derogation allowing fallen stock to be buried on farms in England too until at least April 15, 2013.

Under EU legislation there are strict regulations regarding the disposal of fallen stock but the Government has decided to temporarily relax the rules in response to the crisis.

In his letter, Mr Heath outlined the temporary measures before advising local authorities to take a “pragmatic approach” to the enforcement of fallen stock rules.

He said: “I am asking local authorities to ensure that farmers are supported in this difficult period and are aware of how to make the best use of the derogation which is available to deal with fallen stock in circumstances where access is difficult due to geography, climate or natural disaster.

“The objective is to ensure sympathetic action and to avoid unnecessary problems or delay during very difficult conditions. Such an approach will enable farmers to act quickly and avoid adding to the problems they are already facing.”

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