Farmers can apply for two additional funding opportunities this spring, after some missed out on the winter round of applications due to severe wet weather.
Severn Trent water company has opened up two new opportunities – one to receive up to £5,000 of match funding to protect the environment and enhance habitats, and the other to receive a share of up to £200,000 under the Boost for Biodiversity scheme.
Under the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS), farmers in priority catchments can choose from a specially selected pre-defined list of water quality funding options, such as fencing, sprayer washdown areas and cover crops.
Catchment and biodiversity lead Jodie Rettino said: “On top of these, there are also several biodiversity choices available, including wildflower meadow creation, margin planting and pond management. Unlike the previous round of STEPS, farmers won’t need to apply for a water quality option to qualify for a biodiversity grant and they can come up with their own innovative ideas that aren’t included on the set option list.”
One Shropshire farmer, Wojtek Behnke, from Aqualate Estate, used the scheme to plant 7ha of herbal leys.
“Once fully established, the leys will be ideal for fattening lambs,” he explained. “But the bespoke mix we’ve chosen includes deep rooting and nitrogen fixing varieties, to improve soil structure and drainage, while providing excellent habitats for pollinators.”
All farmers and other organisations in the Severn Trent region can apply for the Boost for Biodiversity scheme. It is part of the company’s Great Big Nature Boost strategy, which is aiming to enhance 5,000ha by 2027.
Applications are scored using set criteria, including size of area improved, number of additional benefits, value for money and contribution to improved water quality. Usually the company hosts a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style pitch with successful applicants but in the current lockdown, this is expected to be held virtually.
To apply for STEPS:
- Find out if you’re in a priority catchment here: stwater.co.uk/catchment
- Read the STEPS options list: stwater.co.uk/steps
- Speak to your local agricultural advisor for support if needed.
- Application deadline is 22nd June 2020: stwater.co.uk/steps
To apply for Boost for Biodiversity:
- Think about how you could improve biodiversity on your farm and look at success stories on Severn Trent’s website for inspiration.
- To download an application form visit: stwater.co.uk/about-us/environment/biodiversity/boost-for-biodiversity/
- Submit your form to [email protected] by 12th June 2020.