My neighbours have got some new concrete – how do I get some…?

This is a question I am often asked and there is not a straightforward answer! Funding streams for agriculture are changing emphasising technology, productivity, environment, and sustainability. In the past year Stephensons Rural have dealt with increased levels of applications involving concrete. This strong level of interest looks set to continue.

With the focus on public money for public goods funding is focused and must make a difference and centres around reducing the risk of water and air pollution from farming.

Many see neighbours concreting yards and assume they will also qualify for funding, however the complex nature of applications and level of detail required by the Rural Payments Agency can seem overwhelming without specialist advice.

The application is competitive in nature, and we can assist you to see if you qualify. Our first discussions centres around the location and if the land in is a Priority Catchment for ground and surface water pollution, high phosphate, and sediment. This is usually followed by a site visit from a Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer from Natural England who will report on 3 areas:

Source – where does a problem originate e.g., stone/mud yards.

Pathway – How does it end up in the wrong place. If runoff occurs down a hard track or slope, then into a watercourse this would score highly and is more likely to gain funding.

Receptor – What is the watercourse in terms of pond, stream or gutter used as a storm drain, a drainage channel managed by an internal drainage board entering a larger river network.

Following the Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer report, Stephensons Rural can then collate the appropriate Countryside Stewardship application through to submission, assembling required evidence and obtaining consents i.e., Environment Agency and Local Planning Authority to name but a few.

“Diffuse pollution” – is one of the biggest issues facing UK agriculture and not only does it lead to issues with water quality on and around the farm, but valuable nutrients lost in the process which could be better utilised and targeted to crop need, especially with the current costs of fertiliser.

Please do get in touch with us to discuss which options are available under Countryside Stewardship from standalone capital grants to mid-tier schemes in preparation for submissions next year.

We anticipate strong demand for 2022 applications so now is a good time to start the process.

Please contact Chris Muir if this is of interest.

 

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