Farmers in mid-England can now apply for a £5,000 grant to go towards management and infrastructure changes to protect watercourses from pollution.
This is thanks to funding from the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS), which has awarded 936 grants worth £4 million in the four years since its launch.
Its farmers have also match funded £4.2 million between them.
Dr Jodie Rettino, Severn Trent catchment management and biodiversity lead, says: “We believe working closely with farmers is key to protecting local watercourses and minimising pollution.
“We hope to distribute more funding than ever this year which will hopefully reduce the amount of water we have to treat and therefore help keep consumers bills down.”
The scheme offers grants of up to £5,000 per year, per farm, and farms must be located within a Severn Trent priority water catchment to qualify explains Dr Rettino.
This can be found out via the Severn Trent website or by speaking to a local Severn Trent agricultural advisor.
“Funding is available for a range of farm and field improvement works including pesticide handling areas, watercourse fencing, cover crops and much more and farmers also have the opportunity to propose their own ideas in a via a farmer innovation option.”
“This means, for example, funding could be used to build a pesticide washdown area in year one followed by a roof installation in year two.”
Simon Scott, Harnages Estates, has applied to the scheme every year since it began in 2014.
He says: “We’ve installed a water catchment tank, built an enclosed sprayer washdown area, constructed a biofilter and landscaped a wetland to act as a natural filter for the farm drains that filter down into the River Severn,” explains Simon.
“The scheme is ideal for us because, while we have the knowledge about what’s best for our farms water and environmental management, sometimes we don’t have the funding to make it happen.”
The window for grant applications for 2018/19 opens on the November 1 2018 and closes on January 31 2019.
For the full terms and conditions of the scheme, and to apply, farmers should contact their local agricultural advisor, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.