Rory called in to rescue farmers from effects of snow
Rory persuaded ministers this Saturday, to sign off on emergency measures to allow feed trucks to get through to isolated farms in the snow. The extreme weather conditions had made it very difficult for feed trucks to get through the snow to remote hill farms, in Cumbria, and across the country. Special measures were required to allow farmers to clear the snow from the roads, and to give the feed truck drivers exemptions from working time restrictions to allow them to reach the farmsteads. This was particularly urgent given that lambing was well underway, and major issues of animal welfare depended on getting the feed to the stock. As of Saturday however, officials were refusing to allow flexibility for the delivery of the feed.
When Rory was approached by Cumbria National Farmers Union on Saturday afternoon, he immediately contacted Carrs Billington the feed manufacturers to gather more details on the situation, and then telephoned Richard Benyon the Minister in the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs, who he had hosted in Cumbria last year. From Benyon, he was directed to Stephen Hammond, the Minister in the Department of Transport, who agreed to immediately instruct his officials to introduce emergency measures. These included allowing farmers to use red diesel to clear the roads, and securing a temporary derogation from the European working time directive to allow the feed drivers to work longer hours.
Rory said: “I was delighted to be able to help. This was a great example of Cumbria working together, and working quickly. Tim Fawcett of Carr Billington, and Alan Dickinson from Cumbria NFU, brought this to my attention immediately. Luckily, we know the Minister well, having hosted him in Cumbria last year, so we were able to clear straight through the bureaucracy. It was great to be able to coordinate across different departments so quickly on a weekend! Hopefully, we will not be in this position again – but it is reassuring to know that when there is an emergency, everyone is prepared to get into action quickly. I’m delighted that this Cumbrian initiative will help farmers across Britain.”