From Northumberland to Cornwall, farmers in 75 priority catchment areas of England have this year submitted more than 3,000 applications for funding to the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) grants scheme, Natural England said this week.
Roofed cattle feed area funded by the
Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grants Scheme
The CSF Capital Grants Scheme, which is run by Natural England, offers up to 50% funding for farm improvement works that will help producers to take practical action to reduce diffuse water pollution. The 3,000 applications for project funding that have been received by the grants scheme this year add up to a combined total of around £25 million.
With a budget of £21.5 million to distribute in 2012, the grant scheme’s annual budget is therefore over-subscribed and grants are being allocated on a competitive basis this year. The funding will be allocated to the applications that best meet the scheme’s priorities and that provide the greatest environmental benefits within target areas.
More than 1,000 succesful applications have already been approved and the remaining offers will be sent out in the coming days. By the end of the month, the grants team will have informed everyone who applied whether their application has been successful or not.
Geoff Sansome, Director of Land Management (South) for Natural England said: “There have been a very large number of applications for funding from the Catchment Sensitive Farming grants scheme this year and I would like to thank everyone who has submitted an application for their interest in this initiative.
“Work funded by this scheme over recent years is already providing savings for thousands of farmers and enhancing local environments throughout England by improving water quality. The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working. I am delighted that further work will be carried out on hundreds of farms as a result of the funding made available this year.”
Grants are available for carrying out practical works that will boost the health of England’s precious streams, rivers, meres and mosses by improving water quality and reducing pollution from agricultural activity. The grant scheme, which is administered by Natural England, is open to farmers and land managers in the CSF scheme’s target areas.
Farm improvement works can be funded with up to 50% grant aid from the scheme. More than 40 types of project are eligible, including installing water troughs, managing pesticides to reduce groundwater impacts, roofing manure & silage stores and works to keep livestock away from streams.
This year, the Government announced an extension to the CSF Capital Grants Scheme and made an additional £14 million available in 2012/13, bringing the total annual budget to over £21m. An extra £8 million will be made available in 2013/14. This means more farmers in the priority catchments can apply for a grant to make improvements that will reduce diffuse water pollution.
Geoff added: “As a result of the high volume of applications this year, combined with a large than usual number of applications requiring further information, this year’s application round has taken a little longer than anticipated. We would like to thank applicants for their patience and would like to assure them that the grants team are working hard in order to provide agreement offers as soon as possible.”
This year’s application window is now closed, however the Capital Grant Scheme will be available again next year with the application window being between 1st March to the 30th of April 2013.
The ‘Love Your River Campaign’
Defra and a range of partner organisations have come together to launch the ‘Love Your River’ campaign to celebrate the importance of our rivers and to remind people of the steps they can take to protect these special places. The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is a good example of what can be achieved through partnership working and offers practical support and advice, helping farmers reduce the adverse effect of pollution on our rivers and associated wildlife. For more information visit the website for the ‘Love Your River’ campaign at www.defra.gov.uk/loveyourriver.
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