£3m increase for water catchment grant scheme

Funding for the Catchment Sensitive Farming Capital Grant Scheme has been increased to £10.5m and the deadline for applications extended to 6 May 2011.

Natural England has announced the fund, available to farmers in 50 priority areas on a competitive basis, has been increased by £3m.

The scheme offers grants for a range of improvements that reduce diffuse pollution from agriculture, including construction of fencing near rivers and streams, installing water troughs, and roofing manure and silage stores.

In addition to the funding increase, farmers have an extra week to submit their applications. The closing date for applications to be received by Natural England has been extended from 30 April until 6 May to allow for the bank holidays and to give farmers extra time to submit their bids.

Ian Fugler, Natural England’s director of land management, said: “We would urge farmers in the priority catchment areas to act now and put in an application. The increase in the amount of funding available this year is very welcome and we look forward to receiving high quality applications that will achieve the greatest benefits for water purity.

“Projects funded by this scheme over the past four years are already providing improvements for farmers, the general public and wildlife by reducing diffuse pollution at source.”

Since the scheme began four years ago thousands of farmers and land managers in England have received more than £22m in grants for capital works. The grant limit is £10,000 per holding – an increase of £2,000 on last year.

Farmers can check whether their land is in a priority catchment, find out more information and download an application pack. Alternatively application packs can be obtained by telephoning 0300 060 1111.

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