Changes to the current England Rural Development Programme were
announced by the Rural Development Service today to pave the way
for the next rural development funding programme.
These changes are an important part of Defra's Rural
Strategy 2004 to simplify funding for rural areas and better
target it to the needs of rural people and businesses in each
To achieve this the current social and economic schemes, collectively
known as the 'Project Based Schemes', will not be rolled forward
into the next programme, which will run from 2007 to 2013, after
the current ERDP closes at the end of this year.
Friday, 30 June 2006 will consequently be the last date on which
new applications may be accepted under the Rural Enterprise Scheme,
the Processing and Marketing Grant, the Vocational Training Scheme
and the Energy Crops (SRC) Producer Group Scheme.
Customers who are currently in the process of developing a proposal
for a business or community project with a view to seeking a
grant from one of these schemes are strongly recommended to discuss
their proposal with a representative from the Rural Development
Defra will be commencing public consultation shortly on the
priorities for the new programme.
The new programme will continue to provide funding for social
and economic development in rural areas, but with responsibility
for delivery planned to transfer from the Rural Development Service
to England's Regional Development Agencies, who intend to introduce
new funding arrangements, in line with regional priorities.
Environmental Stewardship, covering agri-environment funding
under both current and new programmes, is not affected by these
changes. However, its delivery will move from the Rural Development
Service to Natural England, once that body is established.
Minister for Rural Affairs, Jim Knight, commented:
"We need to work towards implementing changes first announced
as part of Rural Strategy 2004 in the delivery of grants to farmers,
food businesses, rural communities and others. We are also taking
the opportunity to introduce an updated approach to this type
of funding under the successor arrangements to the England Rural
"We need to develop plans for the most effective use of
this type of funding within the new programme running from January
2007 to December 2013. To assist us and our delivery partners
in this process, we will be launching shortly a major public
consultation exercise. This will give interested parties the
opportunity to help shape the policy objectives on which the
future social and economic funding should be focused.
"We also wish to maximise the opportunities presented by
the intended delivery of the new programme's funding through
the Regional Development Agencies. As recommended by Lord Haskins'
review of rural delivery and endorsed by the Rural Strategy,
this will involve simplifying the delivery arrangements for customers
and taking advantage of the links with other rural development
funding already being distributed by the Regional Development
"At the same time, it is important that the momentum generated
by the availability of this type of funding is not lost and from
October onwards the Regional Development Agencies are planning
to be working on the ground with potential customers on the development
of projects suitable for support under the new programme."
It is particularly important that potential applicants understand
how well their project meets the stated regional priorities,
what level of supporting information is needed, and how long
the process is likely to take. The closure date of 30 June for
new applications for these grants has been set to allow sufficient
time for all applications to receive a decision prior to the
major changes outlined above.
Customers who are thinking of applying to one of these funding
streams should contact their local RDS as soon as possible to
discuss their ideas.
Area team contacts in the North East are:
Roxanne Walker (0191 229 5532) Debbie Charlton
(0191 229 3093)
Adelle Rowe (0191 229 5537) Michael Patterson
(0191 229 3091)
Karen Purvis (0191 229 5526)
(includes Tyne and Wear) Evelyn Jack (0191 229
Andy Whitehead (0191 229 3072) John Gornall (0191
Energy Crops Producer Group Scheme:
Stephen Collins (0191 229
North East clinics are held on a regular basis to assist potential
applicants through the process. In the first instance applicants
should contact an adviser, who will discuss their ideas, advise
on the most appropriate way forward and, if appropriate, book
a slot at a clinic.
The administration of approved project cases under the Rural
Enterprise Scheme, the Processing and Marketing Grant, the Vocational
Training Scheme and the Energy Crops (SRC) Producer Group Scheme,
is planned to transfer from the Rural Development Service to
Regional Development Agencies at the end of September 2006. Agreement
holders affected by this change can be assured that this will
not result in any changes to the terms and conditions of the
grant award; details of the revised administrative arrangements
will be sent out nearer the time.
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