Funds to help protect water – Summer ’19 edition
Water companies are now working closely with farmers to find practical ways they can help prevent pollution and many also offer grant funding to improve handling and storage areas. This article follows on from a feature in Pro Operator magazine – summer edition 2019.
Water companies and other organisations are working hard to protect drinking water supplies by helping farmers and landowners tackle diffuse pollution. There is plenty of free advice on offer and, in many cases, grants to improve and or install facilities.
It is estimated that about 40% of pesticides in surface and groundwater may come from the farmyard. This can include drips and spillages, washings from sprayers and poor foil seal or container disposal practices.
Grant funding options
There’s a number of different funds or grants available that you can claim to help minimise the risk to water by improving application, filling or washout areas. The availability and level of funds depends on your location and situation.
The best place to start is to contact your local Catchment Sensitive Farming Officer – the contacts for each local area can be downloaded here: CSF download
Alternatively, you can contact your local water company direct by following this link – Contact my local water company
The Countryside Productivity Small Grants Scheme (CPSGS), offers funding for projects in England which improve productivity in farming and forestry sectors, and help create jobs and growth in the rural economy. CPSGS covers precision equipment technology such as auto-section control, variable rate and GPS systems.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its delivery bodies administer the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS).
This provides financial incentives for farmers and land managers to look after their environment by reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture and other measures.
The CSS covers farmyard infrastructure such as pesticide filling/washdown areas and bio-bed/biofilters and can also support 4m-6m or 12m-24m buffer strips, field margins, in-field strips, winter cover crops, two-year legume fallows, sediment traps and many more.
Capital Grant Schemes
Water companies, across England and Wales are also supporting farmers by providing funding for high risk farmyards within the catchments from which they abstract water. Through Capital Grant Schemes, funds are provided to farmers to make improvements to their agricultural business and to help promote sustainable development.
The options available are usually targeted to those offered within the CSS.
The Rural Development Programme for England LEADER scheme launched in October 2015, is a mandatory element of the Rural Development Programme for England led by Defra and funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Funding has been provided to Local Action Groups, selected by Defra. Local Action Groups have the authority to award small grant and prioritise funding at a local level to forestry, farming and other businesses that apply.
To be eligible to apply for funding, businesses must check that they are located within an area covered by a local LEADER group. For further details can be found on the LEADER funding pages.
To date, 2,738 projects worth £99.67 million have been approved and contracted, and 4,124 jobs created or committed to being created.
LEADER is a competitive scheme. Funding calls for new applications to individual local LEADER groups may be limited and businesses should contact their local group directly to find out if there is funding available; it may also be affected by the Brexit process.
Water company funding
Water companies across England and Wales not only offer free advice and training, but also back this with a range of incentives including grants and funds for projects in specific areas.
For example, farmers in the Midlands can apply for a £5,000 environmental grant from Severn Trent Water to help fund management and infrastructure changes that will protect watercourses from pollution.
Farms must be located within a Severn Trent priority water catchment area to be eligible for funds from Severn Trent’s Environmental Protection Scheme Check eligibility HERE. Funding is available for a range of farm and field improvement works including pesticide handling areas, watercourse fencing, cover crops and much more. Farmers also have the opportunity to propose their own ideas in a unique ‘Farmer Innovation’ option.
The STEPS scheme offers grants of up to a maximum of £5,000 per year, per farm.
The window for grant applications for 2019/20 opens on the 1 November 2019 and closes on 31 January 2020.
Severn Trent Water offers a range of other schemes for farmers in ‘Drinking Water Safeguard Zone’, or in the Severn Trent priority catchments.
Pesticide amnesty schemes
A number of water companies offer annual schemes to help farmers dispose of unwanted out of date pesticides safely. By contacting their water company or CSF officer, collection of chemicals can be arranged. In 2019, Severn Trent offered to collect up to 75 litres of chemicals that have either been banned or passed their expiry date, and plans to repeat the scheme next year.
Earn NRoSO points for learning more about biofilters
You can read about how to install a biobed or biofilter in the NRoSO Know-How section – FREE to NRoSO members. If you haven’t already registered for free, you’ll find all the sign-up information HERE.
For a short time only, you can also earn 2 NRoSO or 2 BASIS points from our online training course on biobeds and biofilters as well. This course is due to be replaced in the coming weeks, but you can still access it by subscribing to Ei Operator for just £30/year where you will also find other courses worth a further 4 NRoSO and/or 6 BASIS points. To find out more, follow the link HERE.
Don’t forget all NRoSO members can access a FREE course worth 2 NRoSO points and 2 BASIS points by simply registering with us as a NRoSO member. This course is supplied free as part of your NRoSO membership with City and Guilds.