Under the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which has now been agreed with the European Commission, the Department of Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has opened a woodland capital grants scheme under Countrywide Stewardship.
Three types of grants are available:
- Woodland creation grants – planting, protecting and (where applicable) maintaining woodland for ten years
- Woodland management plans – preparing plans to bring more woodland into management
- Woodland tree health – improving and restoring woodlands
All land managers including landowners, leaseholders and tenants can apply. However, leaseholders and tenants must check that the landowner agrees with their proposal before they apply.
Applications opened in February and have the following deadlines:
- Woodland creation grants: 17 February – 31 May 2015
- Woodland management plans: 17 February – 30 June 2015
- Woodland tree health: 17 February – 30 June 2015
In addition, under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme of the RDPE, Defra has announced that £10 million will be made available for water capital grants. Each grant is worth up to £10,000 and the aim is to help farmers and land managers carry out works to improve water management and the quality of the land.
The new grant scheme opened for applications on 2 March and will close on 30 April 2015. The grants are one off payments towards the cost of specific items or activities and land managers can select from a range of 45 practical measures that will attract different amounts of funding. Eligible items include:
- Installing bio-beds
- Preventing livestock having access to watercourses by erecting watercourse fencing
- Providing drinking troughs as an alternative to watercourse drinking for livestock
- Relocation of sheep dips and pens
- Roofing sprayer washdown areas, manure storage areas, livestock gathering areas, slurry stores and silage stores
Grants will be awarded to applications that best meet the scheme’s priorities and have the greatest environmental benefit.
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are currently in the process of finalising procedures for grant applications under the European Structural and Investment Fund (ESIF). These grants, which will cover training and skills, SME and micro business support, rural tourism and small scale infrastructure projects (renewable energy and broadband) will be available this summer.
Last month, Defra announced its first series of capital grants under the Countryside Productivity Scheme of the RDPE. The total budget of £5 million is available for small and large capital grants.
The grants are:
- Animal productivity, health and welfare
- Arable and horticultural productivity including LED lights with wavelength control, controlled atmosphere storage areas for fruit and vegetables, remote crop sensors, crop robotics
- Woodland harvesting, extraction and small scale processing
- Resource management including slurry application systems, air scrubbers and heat exchangers, LED lighting for livestock housing, improving water management and poultry litter drying systems
The deadline for applying for a small grant (£2,500 – £35,000) or a large grant (£35,000 – £1 million) is 30 June 2015.
For further information on Milsted Langdon’s services to agricultural and rural businesses, please contact us.