East Anglian farmers praised for their efforts during the snowy weather

FARMERS have praised a relaxation of rules on the use of red diesel to allow them to help grit and clear snow from public roads as the industry was prasied for its efforts during the bad weather.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has recognised the role farmers play across the country during the winter weather and confirmed that red diesel can be used temporarily in tractors on public roads to help provide access to schools, hospitals, remote dwellings or local communities cut off by ice and snow

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) regulatory affairs adviser Ben Ellis said: “The recognition of the vital work that farmers undertake for local communities in cold weather is a positive step. However, this is only a temporary measure and the NFU is calling for a permanent change to allow farmers to use red diesel for gritting operations.

“A consultation is due to take place in the coming weeks on which the NFU will formally respond.”

Meanwhile landowners’ leaders have praised farmers for their efforts in the adverse weather conditions, currently throwing parts of the region into chaos.

Country Land and Business (CLA) East director Nicola Currie said farmers in particular deserve thanks for their efforts in keeping remote rural areas working.

She said: “We have all managed to get through to work, but it has sometimes needed the help of a shovel or tractor. Much has been said about the lack of gritting on rural roads, but let’s recognise the efforts that farmers have made to keep roads open and in helping supplies reach their destination.

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“This weather is causing problems for everyone, but farmers have to turn out no matter how severe the conditions. They have to find, feed and water stock, and routine jobs are taking far longer.

“Despite this extra pressure and significant risk to themselves, they still turn out to help – stranded strangers as well as neighbours, and many a desperate motorist will think twice before moaning about tractors on the road in future.

“The CLA has always said that agriculture is the heart of rural communities and these actions demonstrate this.”