Facilitation Fund Provides Conservation Boost

The fourth round of the popular Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has been one of the most successful yet, with 37 new groups of farmers from Cornwall to Northumberland signed up to agreements after a competitive application round, which closed in November 2017.

The Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund rewards groups of farmers for coming together to work out the best ways to improve the natural environment across their land, providing habitats for wildlife on a landscape scale to better aid conservation of important species.


There are now 98 groups working across England with the common goal of better delivering environmental improvements on their land, and the land of their neighbours.

A number of high quality applications were received in this latest funding round, which meant the funding pot was increased by £600,000 to ensure that groups with important work to deliver could access the funding to do so.

All 37 groups have now received their agreements and will be able to receive funding for working together and sharing knowledge to improve the landscape. The addition of these groups to the scheme means that now over 450,000 hectares of holdings in England are delivering landscape-scale measures for wildlife, water management and the historic environment.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:
I am very pleased to see thirty seven new nature conservation groups established with over 700 members involved. The facilitation fund we have established aims to support partnership working and bring together farmers and other land managers to deliver local conservation projects.

It is particularly encouraging to see how many high quality applications we received, which we hope to replicate across the Countryside Stewardship scheme following the steps we have taken to simplify the wildlife packages.

An example of tone of the applications is;
CSFF 010008 South Tyne

Members will seek to address flood risk management and water quality. The South Tyne catchment suffers from rapid and damaging run off along with high sediment loads rich in metals. Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques significantly slow water flow and reduce flood impacts down-stream. Also slowing the flow of water allows sediments in suspension to drop out which improves water quality. I will hold workshops and demonstrations for members that show NFM options operating in practice. Cumbria County Council, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water are all prioritising the south Tyne for Natural Flood Management.

NFM is not just about flooding and water quality as the suite of techniques used also address other CS priorities as they deliver improved and more connected habitat through the creation of wetland scrapes, the management of moorland and hedgerows, new riparian woodland and improved woodland management. The synergies involved will provide improved biodiversity across the catchment supporting important populations of breeding waders, woodland birds, moorland birds and mammals.

By taking a catchment based approach and looking at the whole landscape, farmer members will be supported with knowledge and encouraged to work together to collaborate on schemes that involve whole river corridors.

Through a series of workshops farmer members will focus specifically on measures that will:

  • Increase riparian woodland

  • Reduce agricultural diffuse pollution

  • Connect habitats

  • Reduce sediment movement

  • Improve water quality

  • Improve flood management

Gov UK

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