Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Catchment Sensitive Farming Scheme

Last week Natural England announced that the Catchment Sensitive Farming Scheme will open for a short period from March 1st to 30th April 2013. For the first time this will include a large part of Somerset which has been identified as one of the 79 priority catchment areas nationwide.

Many farmers in mid Somerset will now fall within the Somerset Levels and Moors catchment area and will be able to make an application for a capital grant to help with funding more than 40 different project types. These include installing water troughs and tracks, roofs over manure and silage stores, fencing works to keep livestock away from streams, and pesticide handling facilities.

The aim of the scheme is to help farmers and land managers tackle diffuse pollution into water courses. Applicants can claim up to £10,000 from a national pot of £15.5 million, with no minimum claim. The scheme will pay up to 50% of the actual costs of approved capital works.

My experience of this grant scheme in the past is that it involves a relatively straightforward application process and can provide very real and practical benefits for the both farmers and the environment.

Farmers who have not had grants in previous years or have received less than £2,000 and those who already have an active agri-environment scheme agreement, such as Entry or Higher Level Stewardship, will receive priority.

It is clear that funds are in limited supply and so if anyone is minded to make an application they should make preparations as soon as possible because 1st March is not far away and it is likely to be the “early bird that catches the worm” in this instance.

Details of the Capital Grant Scheme funding priorities for 2013/14 can be found at www.naturalengland.org.uk with a map showing catchments and target areas. Alternatively for more information on the scheme and the eligible catchment areas please call Jennifer Towill at Carter Jonas, Wells office on 01749 677667.

James Stephen MRICS FAAV
Rural Practice Chartered Surveyor, Wells

T: 01749 683381
E: james.stephen@carterjonas.co.uk

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