Press release

Severe weather conditions

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

This news story is no longer being updated.

The severe cold weather is continuing to present challenges in many parts of the country.

This page (last updated on 24 December) draws together a number of measures which we and others are taking:

  • We have published advice for farmers and pet owners on what they should do to protect the welfare of their animals - see severe weather advice
  • Farmers whose cattle movement notifications are potentially affected by delays due to the adverse weather can call the Cattle Tracing Service self service line on 0845 011 1212 to register births, deaths and movements on and off a holding.  The service is available by phone 24 hours a day. More info and guidance… (RPA website)
  • The Department for Transport has agreed a number of temporary, limited, emergency relaxations of the enforcement of the EU drivers’ hours and working time rules and these include the following (see the DfT website for further details):
    • Drivers of vehicles involved in the distribution of raw materials to feed mills and farms, and prepared feed to livestock farms located in Great Britain (until the end of 24 December and from 27 December to the end of 7 January)
    • Hauliers involved directly in the distribution of fuel oil and petroleum related products to agricultural, domestic and small industrial premises in Great Britain (until the end of 24 December and from 27 December to the end of 10 January)
    • Hauliers involved directly in the distribution of food to and from distribution centres and to food stores in Great Britain (from 24 December 2010 until the end of Monday 27 December 2010)
  • Natural England has relaxed the rules on supplementary feeding to help livestock farmers in agri-environment schemes (further details on the Natural England website) - this derogation will extend through to 6 January 2011 and will then be reviewed
  • The Environment Agency has issued guidance on specific waste issues (Environment Agency website): this covers cold weather emergency landspreading (PDF), and waste milk (PDF)
  • The Department for Transport has issued an authorisation (valid until 11 January 2011) to permit the collection by agricultural or forestry workers where deliveries of UN 1202 gas oil or diesel fuel or heating oil, light have been disrupted due to adverse weather conditions without the need to comply fully with the provisions of ADR
  • Fuel distributors are doing all they can to prioritise deliveries to vulnerable customers and those running short on fuel. Working with DECC, the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers has issued a voluntary Code of Practice to its members to help them prioritise orders to those most in need
  • HMRC have confirmed that during extreme weather farmers can use red diesel in their tractors to help grit and clear snow from public roads (further details on the HMRC website)
  • Natural England has encouraged voluntary constraint on licensed shooting during the severe cold weather (NE website)
  • Colleagues including those in the Environment Agency, Natural England and National Parks, are using their resources in providing assistance at a local level

We and Devolved Administration colleagues remain in close touch with organisations representing those affected by the weather, and will continue to look at whether there are additional, specific measures we need to put in place to ease problems. We will keep this news story updated with any further information.