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From the River Aln in Northumberland to the River Exe in Devon and the Eden to the Medway, farmers in 75 catchment areas of England can now apply for grants of up to £10,000 from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) Capital Grants Scheme.
Grants are available for carrying out practical works on the farm 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. See a map of the priority catchment areas: (3.94mb).
This year’s Capital Grants Scheme is now open and information and application forms are available online here CSF Capital Grants Scheme or contact the Natural England CSF team on 0300 060 1111 to request an application pack. The deadline for completed applications to be returned is Monday 30th April.
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.
Andy Foot, who farms in the Dorset Stour, said: “I would encourage all farmers to get involved with the project as it is there to help. The grant can give you the kick start you need and the specialist training and advice that’s also on offer through CSF has been invaluable and doesn’t cost you anything.”
A network of Catchment Sensitive Farming project officers provide practical training, advice and grants to help farmers and land managers to take voluntary action to protect water bodies and the natural environment.
Kevin Wallbridge who farms on the River Hooke said: “It is not just the grant that the CSF project offers to farmers although that is a great incentive to carry out works around the farm. It is also the amount of free specialist advice and training available – good soil management and better use of manures not only helps the environment but saves us large amounts of money!”
Ian Fugler, Director of Land Management at Natural England added: “The deadline for applying for grants from the Capital Grants Scheme is fast approaching and I would urge farmers in the priority catchment areas to act now and put in an application. Projects funded by this scheme over recent years are 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 and provides a great way for land managers to show their support for the Government’s ‘Love Your River’ campaign".
The Government has recently announced an extension to the CSF Capital Grants Scheme and is making 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.
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 ‘Love Your River’ website.
For further information (media enquiries only) please contact:
David Hirst, Natural England press office: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Catchment Sensitive Farming
The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is a joint project between the Environment Agency and Natural England, 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.
If the scheme is oversubscribed, grants will be allocated to those applications which best meet the scheme’s priorities, are within target areas and will deliver the greatest environmental benefit.
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.
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