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Local Helplines Assist Farmers with The Big Freeze

NFU Scotland has set up local helplines to assist its members in dealing with the most common, immediate problems created by the ongoing wintry weather (see notes for helpline numbers).

Working closely with its membership across Scotland, the Scottish and local government and other organisations, including machinery rings, NFUS has identified the three most significant problems farmers are facing: collapsed farm buildings; a shortage of fuel on farm; and access to livestock.

NFUS has established ways of alleviating these problems and has nominated staff to man the phones to help members affected both by these specific issues and in any other way by the wintry weather.

NFU Scotland’s Chief Executive, James Withers said

"Overall the picture remains pretty positive with farmers managing extremely difficult conditions and helping each other. However we’ve been working to help areas facing particular problems.

"We seem to be experiencing some respite from the worst of the conditions just now which has helped alleviate local pressures in the last 24 hours. However, such is the depth of snow and ice in some areas that problems do persist.

"On over a hundred farms, collapsed farm buildings have left animals without shelter and we shall do our best to put them in touch with alternative accommodation. To that end, we would be grateful for any offers of available livestock accommodation and sincerely thank those who have already come forward.

"The lack of fuel on farms has been helped massively by individuals sharing what they have, although the provision of domestic heating oil remains a problem for a number of rural residencies. We’re happy to speak to government and fuel distributors if there is a particular local problem that a central collection point could help address. Extending the derogation on drivers hours for fuel deliveries may well help to get fuel to needy areas as quickly as possible as snow clears and tankers start to get round the country more readily.

"The thaw over the last day has meant that many farmers that have been denied access to their animals for nearly two weeks in the Borders for example, should be able to get to them in the morning.

"We would reiterate our safety message, given the precarious nature of many farming buildings with significant snow accumulation on the roof. We don’t want anyone putting themselves in danger trying to clear snow.

"In the meantime, if there is an urgent problem on farm we’d encourage our members to pick up the phone to us and we will do what we can to assist."

NOTES TO EDITORS

NFUS has set up helplines for the following areas, which have been worst affected by the weather:

NORTH EAST

  • Lorna Paterson 07786 860453
  • Kate Maitland 07919 001239

LOTHIAN AND BORDERS

  • Lisa Roberts 07789 796582

HIGHLANDS

  • Ian Wilson 07775 915988

ALL OTHER REGIONS

  • NFUS Head Office 0131 472 4000

Machinery Rings have been very keen to offer assistance.

Ringlink Machinery ring in the North East are manning offices 24/7. Their office numbers are:

Elgin 01343 550123

Oldmeldrum 01828 873602

Ardler 01828 640456

Laurencekirk 01561 377790

There are also other machinery rings helping out in other areas - their contact details are as follows:

Orkney 01856 879080

Caithness 01847 841310

Highland 01463 811603

Tayforth 01577 830616

Lothian 01313 398730

Borders 01896 758091

South West 01557 820370

Ends

Contact Sarah Anderson on 0131 472 4108

 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 05/10


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