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Sally Blowey, Chartered Surveyor with Stags, discusses Countryside Stewardship and other grants.
Applications are now open for a simplified 2018 Countryside Stewardship programme following changes to the Mid-Tier scheme. The new system has four additional offerings aimed at arable, lowland, upland and mixed farmers with a range of tailored options for each to pick from set categories.
Sally Blowey from Stags Professional Services department says, “This part of the scheme is uncompetitive so all applicants can be assured that they will be offered an agreement if they meet the eligibility checks. This certainty, along with a simplified application process, has made the scheme much more attractive and should certainly be considered if you are not already in a scheme.”
The grant deadlines have moved forward this year to give Natural England more time to process applications ahead of the agreement start date of January 1 2019. If you are interested in putting together an application a pack should be ordered from Natural England by May 31 2018 and an application submitted by July 31 2018.
The stewardship agreement will be for a five year term with the option of a two year capital works programme. Recent announcements from the Secretary of State Michael Gove have confirmed that those farmers signing up to stewardship agreements now will not be disadvantaged should the UK Government implement their own system of environmental agreements within the lifetime of these agreements.
As part of the Countryside Stewardship package the Hedgerow and Boundary grant also returns for the third year running with a deadline of April 30 2018. The maximum grant each business can apply for has increased to £10,000 this year for a two year agreement.
“This is a great opportunity to carry out improvements to your boundaries with options including hedge laying, stone wall restoration, coppicing and earth bank restoration. The grant is paid on a fixed rate per metre so there is no need to obtain quotes before applying,” Sally explains.
Stags has a wealth of experience in putting together applications for these grants on behalf of farmers, so if you are interested in finding out more, contact Stags Professional Services.