Grant deadline looms for Devon environment scheme

Farmers in Devon have less than a week to apply for grant funding to support positive land management and help improve local water quality.

The application window for the £80,000 grant scheme closes on 20 December.

It is administered by environment charity, the Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) and covers the river Lyd catchment.

See also: Rural start-up fund opens for applications

The trust has set out a long list of examples where funding could be provided.

Measures include:

  • Woodland planting
  • Aeration or sub-soiling of grassland
  • Cover crops for arable areas
  • Watercourse fencing
  • Field buffer strips
  • Installing ponds or wetland features

Hazel Kendall, head of land management at the trust, said: “These options all contribute to improving water quality.

“But they also deliver benefits for soil management, habitat provision, carbon sequestration or flood mitigation – bringing greater value from each investment.”

How to apply

Ms Kendall also explained how to apply for funding.

Applications for the grant are made online via the Naturebid portal

The web page includes a map and farmers should first confirm that they are within the target area.

Then the bidder needs to register and identify where they are – either with a holding number or by indicating their location on the interactive map.

The next step is to select which category the project falls within and to set out where on the farm the work will be undertaken, said Ms Kendall.

The farmer can then use the slide bar tool to indicate how much funding they are bidding for to complete the work.

“Once the bid is submitted the team will review it and, if successful, funding offers will be issued in early January,” she said.

There may be a further application window opening in January, said Ms Kendall.

It is important to note that the earlier a bid is received, the more time there is for the team to review it.

If funding is exhausted there is also a risk that those who wait may miss out, she warned.

The auction is part of the Channel Payments for Ecosystem Services (CPES) Interreg EU-funded project.

This project investigates opportunities to develop investment into river catchments for environmental benefit – known as Payments for Ecosystem Services.

The current NatureBid funds have been made available via a group of local organisations, which have formed a Water Stewardship Business Board.

Further information

Visit the West Country Rivers Trust website

Contact Anthony or Dave from WRT’s Land Team on 01579 372140