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Funding for farmers to improve environment

Words: Laura Edgar
Biodiversity / iStock-520327791

Groups of farmers and landowners will be able to bid for a share of £2.5 million in funding that aims to support the delivery of large-scale improvements to the environment over the next three years.

The funding is the fourth national round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund.

Improvements could include natural flood prevention, enhancing wildlife habitats or planting more trees.

To apply, groups should submit plans that show how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment. They must be in line with their local Countryside Stewardship priorities.

Farming minister George Eustice said: "We know that more can be achieved by trying to coordinate a landscape scale approach to creating habitats and supporting wildlife.

"This fund helps support local clusters of farmers to come together to promote similar interventions and options so that the management on each farm helps to complement a wider effort and we can achieve critical mass as we strive to support wildlife in our countryside."

Successful facilitation groups will also offer invaluable training, support and advice to potential Countryside Stewardship applicants for agreements starting in 2021.

For example, the Wyre Forest Facilitation Fund joined in 2015. Since then, the group has grown to comprise 70 farms spanning 5,138 hectares. Over the past year, the group has delivered 18 training events focusing on various skills, including woodland restoration and creation; hedgerow and tree planting; and natural flood management.

Image credit | iStock