There are various sources of grant funding available. Here are some details which may help you identify the most appropriate funding to apply for.
Entry Level Stewardship is open to all farmers and landowners who are freeholders, tenants, or contractual licensees. There is a flat rate payment of £30 per hectare (£60 if registered organic or in conversion) over the whole holding, including woodland if registered. The contract is for 5 years. Applicants need to identify measure and retain important environmental features and areas on the farm. The application process is map based (provided by Natural England), supported with an application form.
Higher Level Stewardship is targeted towards high priority habitats and areas, and a detailed Farm Environmental Plan (FEP) needs to be prepared before an application is submitted (see Natural England website for further information). HLS applications go through an assessment procedure, which takes into account how the application meets a wide range of environmental priorities identified in your local HLS ‘targeting statement’.
All land to be entered in Environmental Stewardship must be registered on the Rural Land Register [RLR] and have a vendor number.
Forestry Commission Woodland management advice
England Woodland Grant Scheme, 01580 211123 www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-6DCCEN. Although HLS can include small scale woodland management, larger woodlands are suitable for Forestry Commission (EWGS) grants available for the management and planting of woodland. Some are target based for specific important and rare species or important areas, and others are more general and apply throughout the South East Region. Sites of Special Scientific Interest and plantations on ancient woodland sites (PAWS) are especially targeted. Funding is limited and subject to proposals meeting the rules of the scheme and the particular grant applied for, as well as wider environmental standards. Woodland must be registered on the Rural Land Register.
South East Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS), 01932 357 083 http://rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk/funding-sources/farm-and-forestry-improvement-scheme. Part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), FFIS aims to help businesses to become more competitive and more profitable, while reducing the impact of farming on the environment. Farmers, foresters, woodland owners, agricultural contractors and horticulturalists can apply for grants of up to £25,000 to invest in green projects, new machinery and improvements to animal health and welfare.
FFIS will fund projects that:
• Save energy and reduce carbon emissions
• Reduce dependence on artificial fertilizers through better use of manures
• Improve soil quality
• Improve animal health and welfare
• Save and recycle water
• Promote woodland management by processing timber more efficiently
The Kent Countryside Management Partnerships (CMPs) play a vital role in the conservation and enhancement of the Kent countryside and coast and making it accessible to all. Working with local communities, landowners and statutory and non statutory bodies, the CMP encourage, advise on and assist with the management of the wider countryside, as well as special sites, landscapes such as the Downs, and species such as water vole. CMPs can give practical help with projects such as hedge and pond restoration, give talks and presentations, produce literature and information and provide volunteering opportunities. They can help and advise where grants may be available for practical work within the areas they cover. See the CMP Webpage for further details.
Natural England Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) Capital grants, 0300 060 0029 (publications) www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/farming/csf/.The Stour and Medway catchments are CSF priority areas for advice and assistance under a range of measures aimed at improving farm practices and reducing water pollution from agriculture. CSF advisers work with farmers to help reduce pollution and encourage good farm practice. CSF can offer landowners advice on practical steps to reduce impact on water and water quality, runs workshops and events, and can even provide valuable tools such as soil sampling. There can also be capital works grants for items such as yard works, fencing watercourses and livestock tracks, which can help protect valuable resources and habitats.
Rural Land Registry
To get your land registered with the Rural Land Registry (RLR), first contact the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on 0845 603 7777 to get an RPA vendor number and a County Parish Holding (CPH) number. The vendor number is a unique trader registration number allocated to you by the RPA so that you can receive payments. (You will also need to put this number on any ELS or HLS application forms.) The CPH number enables Natural England to identify the location of your holding and provide your application maps. If you have previously claimed payments under the Single Payment Scheme (SPS) or other Defra/RPA schemes, you will already have a vendor number and a CPH number. If you do not have a vendor number or a CPH number, you will be given them by the RPA. The RPA will also send you a CREG01 form so you can register your business details, plus and RLE1 form. The RLE1 allows you to register land for the first time, and you will also need to send an existing map and the areas of fields and other features you want to register. You should register everything except buildings and yard areas.