Government grants worth a total of £10 million are now available to fund projects that reduce the impact agriculture has on water quality. The new water grants build on the success of the Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative which granted £72 million to 6,200 farms between 2011 and 2014.
Farmers and land managers are now able to apply to Natural England for a water capital grant of up to £10,000 towards the costs of improving water management on their holdings with measures that may include keeping livestock away from watercourses and roofing areas susceptible to run-off.
Applications can be submitted now, up to 30 April 2015 and will be judged competitively alongside other applications, with grants made to applicants who propose measures which offer the greatest environmental benefits.
Alongside the woodland capital grants, the water capital grants help to make up the first phase of the government’s new Countryside Stewardship scheme which is due to make £900 million available to farmers and land managers to help them adopt new initiatives and develop environmentally friendly techniques.
Applications will only be accepted for land holdings within priority catchment target areas. Large parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Hampshire and Dorset are within these target areas.
Water capital grants are a one-off payment to help towards the costs of items or activities and there are a wide range of practical projects land managers can choose from, with each attracting different levels of funding. The payment is a government grant and so never needs to be paid back.
There are over 40 different options eligible for grant funding, and some examples include:
• Erection of watercourse fencing to prevent access to livestock for drinking
• Provision of water troughs as an alternative to livestock drinking from a watercourse
• Relocation of sheep dips and pens
• Provision of roofing for slurry stores, silage stores, manure stores, livestock gathering areas and sprayer washdown areas
Woolley & Wallis would be pleased to help you identify the best opportunities for improving water quality on your holding, provide advice on what works may be eligible for grant funding and assist you with completing your application. Please contact our Farm & Rural team on 01722 424515 if you would like to discuss it further.