FARMERS have spoken of the impact of Storm Arwen, with many forced to use generators for days on end due to power cuts, and some struggling to source water supplies. 

Greg Dalton, who farms in Weardale in County Durham, said that although his farm was not as badly affected, many have struggled after Storm Arwen.

Mr Dalton used a generator to provide power to his farm but he stressed that for those without generators things were “difficult.”

The National Farmers Union estimated that around 250 of its members have been struggling across County Durham and Northumberland.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The snow leading up to Greg Dalton's farmThe snow leading up to Greg Dalton's farm

Mr Dalton said that he was forced to run a generator from Wednesday to Sunday.

He said: “Last night the power did come back on in Wearhead, I think we’ve been on the generator since last Wednesday.

“Now we’ve of course got Storm Barra coming in which we will have to deal with but hopefully it isn’t going to be as quite as bad, and I think that people are a lot better prepared for it now as well.

“Farmers know that the weather can be your friend or your foe really, but the fear is that it just ramps up the costs a bit more.”

Asked whether he felt that compensation should be given to farmers he stated that there were discussions with Northern Powergrid.

He said: “I think there were talks of Northern Powergrid offering to farmers who use a generator as obviously that costs quite a bit to run with fuel being so high at the moment.

“If you’re running a generator around eight to ten gallons a day you end up using around ten gallons of fuel a day which can rack up.”

He stated that the power outage can make things “difficult” as working early on the morning is almost impossible in the dark.

Mr Dalton added: “This can make things particularly difficult when you’re working in buildings when farmers are kicking about early in the morning and you have lights in your sheds which means you can get a better start on a morning.

“But without power that delayed everything from the start, and then you’ve got some farms probably buried in snow.

“That’s obviously a big hinderance and you have to dig them out and so on and of course as time goes on farmers would have the water pumped up to the cattle sheds and of course they had no water, which is vital for your livestock.

“That of course brings with it a whole set of problems after that.

“Then the realisation came that the power wasn’t going to come back on and then after a day or two farmers who rely quite a lot of electricity, if they have hens or something, if they are hit then it becomes quite a big problem.

“Most farmers are pretty practical and obviously the area that they live they’ll have a generator or two which they can use and gives you a little bit of help.

“Unfortunately with the power company saying it will be back on in a couple of days some farmers probably thought they could manage until then.

“Of course it didn’t happen as much as they’d hoped meaning people may have sprung into action a bit later than normal.

A spokesperson for the National Farmers Union said: “Over the last week we have spoken to hundreds of members across the North East who have been struggling to cope with no power, and in some instances no water where they are on a private water supply and need power for the pump.

“As a result, we have been able to provide vital information to Northern Powergrid about the situation on individual farms, helping them understand the critical issues being faced by farming families - some of which could face a prolonged period without a mains connection where the infrastructure to outlying areas has been badly damaged.

 "We are working closely with all the organisations involved in responding to this serious situation and believe we are making progress.

“ Nevertheless there are a significant number of farm businesses still without power. Getting a generator to them that can deliver the necessary power output is now our main priority."