30 April 2001
Green scheme deadline extended

By FWi staff

THE closing date for applications to the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme has been put back one month to 31 May.

Shifting the deadline will give farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak more time to prepare applications, explains the Ministry of Agriculture.

This closing date is the same as for applications to the Countryside Stewardship scheme, and MAFF says it will keep this deadline under review.

Under these schemes, farmers and land-managers in England are paid to improve the countrysides natural beauty and diversity in 10-year agreements.

Sixteen of the 22 English ESAs are affected by this decision while the application period for the other six is between 1 June and 31 August.

Although foot-and-mouth controls mean MAFF staff have not been undertaking farm visits, applications should not be delayed, it advises.

MAFF says it will consider applications that have been drawn up without on-the-farm support from professional advisers at this stage.

This would be with a view to developing a more comprehensive agreement later, once farm visits can be resumed.

Application forms should be posted to the nearest MAFF Regional Office.

When farm visits resume, on-site assessments and advice will be provided.

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