20 August 2012
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.
The CSF Capital Grant 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 will be 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.
The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is a joint project between Natural England and the Environment Agency, funded by Defra and the Rural Development Programme for England
This year, the Government announced an extension to the CSF Capital Grant 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 offers of funding 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.
About Catchment Sensitive Farming
The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is a joint project between Natural England and the Environment Agency, funded by Defra and the Rural Development Programme for England, working in priority catchments within England.
The project is proving successful in reducing diffuse water pollution from agriculture and is important in helping to meet the Water Framework Directive standards. Catchment Sensitive Farming was introduced by Defra in 40 priority catchments in April 2006 to raise awareness and encourage early voluntary action by farmers and land managers to tackle diffuse water pollution from agricultural sources.
The project is part of the national response to meet the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and contributes towards achieving Natura 2000 objectives.
About Natural England
Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.
We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.
We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and advising on their conservation.
We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.
We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.
We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.
For further information (media enquiries only) contact:
David Hirst, Natural England press officer: 0300 0601720 or email@example.com
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