Pilot project offers grants to reduce rural flood risk

Farmers and landowners in seven catchment areas of Herefordshire are being invited to apply for grant funding for projects that will reduce the risk of flooding to local communities.

The River Wye and Lugg Natural Flood Management pilot project ties in with the government’s vision for landowners to be paid public money for the provision of public goods.

The £100,000 project has been conceived to reduce the risk to more than 900 homes badly affected by flooding in the past – many of them in rural communities.

See also: Read Farmers Weekly’s other stories about grant support 

The scheme offers payments for works such as tree and hedge planting, the installation of earth bunds and the construction of leaky dams to slow the flow of water.

Payments are also on offer to support changes in land management practices, including grants of up to £90/ha for the establishment of overwintered catch and cover crops or up to £29/ha for arable subsoiling.

The scheme is being delivered by Herefordshire Council, working in partnership with organisations including the Environment Agency and the Woodland Trust.

The council says that while introducing flood management techniques may not prevent flooding completely, it should help to reduce the frequency and severity, with the added benefit of improving water quality, creating new habitats and enhancing biodiversity.

Grant allocations are competitive, with a review panel meeting monthly to assess each application to see if it can deliver the overall objectives of the project.

Applicants are required to check first whether they are eligible for funding from alternative sources, such as through schemes like Countryside Stewardship.

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