Groundwater protection grants of up to £20,000 available in South East

Grants of up to £20,000 a year, funded by South East Water, are available to farmers in priority water catchment areas across Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent.

The utility company has a capital grant scheme designed to encourage investment that will help to minimise the risk of soil, fertiliser and pesticides washing from fields into rivers and groundwater.

Funding is available for a range of capital grants including installing rainwater goods (£11.40/sq m), concrete yard renewal to separate clean and dirty water (£26/sq m), installing hardcore tracks (£40m), roofing over yard areas (up to 50% of costs) and hedgerow planting (£12m).

See also: Read the latest from Farmers Weekly on grants available

There is also support for improving pesticide handling facilities, soil sampling and nutrient variability mapping.

Farmers can apply for up to £10,000 a year of capital grant funding, but there is also the option to apply for an additional £10,000 of funding to implement a range of land management options.

These include establishing cover crops (£75/ha), herbal rich grass leys (£280/ha) and arable reversion (£300/ha).

The scheme is competitive, so applicants are encouraged to target their applications at the key issues which need solving within their catchment.

This means farmers are advised to talk to their local catchment advisor before putting in their application.

The funding is designed to cover roughly half the costs of carrying out the work.

Farmers in the target areas may also be eligible for free specialist advice from their catchment advisors.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, with scheme options and the funding available reviewed every February.

Find out if you fall within one of the catchments by reading the guidance documents for South East Water’s Capital Grant Scheme.