Natural England - Grants scheme will provide benefits after record number of applications flow in

Grants scheme will provide benefits after record number of applications flow in

30 October 2012

The Catchment Sensitive Farming initiative is making £21.5 million available this year to help farmers carry out improvement works that will improve drinking water quality and enhance local wetland environments.

From Northumberland to Cornwall and Cumbria to Kent, farmers in 75 priority catchment areas of England submitted more than 3,000 applications for funding from the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) capital grants scheme this year.

Natural England said today (30 October 2012) that more than 9 out of 10 applications received were successful and grants totaling £21.5m have now been allocated.

The CSF Capital Grants Scheme, which is administered by Natural England, offers up to 50% funding for carrying out practical works that boost the health of England’s precious streams, rivers, meres and mosses by improving water quality and reducing pollution from agricultural activity.  More than 40 types of project are eligible for funding and the grant scheme is open to farmers and land managers in the CSF scheme's priority areas.

The grants will help England’s farmers to roof over livestock feeding areas, separate clean and dirty water in farmyards, install new livestock and machinery tracks, fence off water courses to exclude livestock, and install rainwater harvesting equipment.  The grant funding can also be used to create sediment ponds and install bio beds and sprayer wash-down areas to reduce pesticide run off into watercourses.

Geoff Sansome, Director of Land Management for Natural England said: “It’s great news not only for the environment but also for our regional food producers and local businesses that this year the scheme’s £21.5m budget has been fully committed and will be supporting a total of 2,700 projects throughout England.  I would like to thank everyone who has submitted an application for their interest in this initiative.”

Some of the works that farmers will be carrying out as a result of help from the grant funding include:

  • The building of 222 new, above-ground rainwater tanks

  • Constructing 86 new sprayer or applicator loading and wash-down areas

  • Installing roofing over the sprayer/applicator loading and wash-down areas on 59 farms

  • The roofing over of livestock gathering yards covering more than 192,200m²

  • Roofing of manure storage areas that will cover more than 78,820m²

  • Erecting fencing along 107,140m of farmland watercourses to prevent livestock entering the water

  • Installing 23,536m of rainwater harvesting equipment

  • Improvements to farmyards covering a total of 509,386m²

Geoff added: “Work funded by this scheme over recent years is already providing cost savings for thousands of farmers, helping bring work to local businesses and enhancing local environments throughout England by improving water quality.  The Catchment Sensitive Farming Project is an excellent example of what can be achieved through partnership working.  I am delighted that further work will be carried out on thousands of farms as a result of the funding made available this year.”

Catchment Sensitive Farming is a joint project between the Environment Agency and Natural England, funded by Defra and the Rural Development Programme for England, working in priority catchments within England.

In addition to the grants scheme, the specialist training and advice offered by the Catchment Sensitive Farming project can save farmers’ money, leading to better business efficiency while at the same time bringing positive environmental outcomes. The free, specialist advice on offer covers a wide range of topics from providing information on nutrient management, planning and soil husbandry, to details of the latest developments in fertilizer spreader calibration and soil & water management.

The Capital Grant Scheme will be available again next year with the application window being between 1st March to the 30th of April 2013.

For more information about Catchment Sensitive Farming please email

CSF grants in numbers: regional roundup by River Basin District:

South West:              1134 agreements      (£9.84m)
Severn:                      398 agreements      (£3.3m)
North West England:    370 agreements      (£3.2)
Humber:                     361 agreements      (£3.16m)
Anglian:                      207 agreements      (£1.36m)
Solway & Tweed:          97 agreements       (£848,280)
South East:                  87 agreements       (£592,599)
Thames:                      78 agreements       (£537,496)
Northumbria:                14 agreements       (£128,523)


For further information (media enquiries only) please contact:
David Hirst, Natural England press officer: 0300 0601720 or 0782 7821679 
Follow us on Twitter: @NaturalEnglandexternal link

About Catchment Sensitive Farming

Catchment Sensitive Farming is a partnership between the Environment Agency and Natural England, funded by Defra and the Rural Development Programme for England, working in priority catchments within England.

  • The project is proving successful in reducing diffuse water pollution from agriculture and is important in helping to meet the Water Framework Directive standards. Catchment Sensitive Farming was introduced by Defra in 40 priority catchments in April 2006 to raise awareness and encourage early voluntary action by farmers and land managers to tackle diffuse water pollution from agricultural sources

  • The project is part of the national response to meet the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and contributes towards achieving Natura 2000 objectives.

  • Since it began five years ago over 4,000 farmers and land managers have received around £33m in grants to carry out essential capital works.

About Natural England

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.

  • We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.

  • We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and advising on their conservation.

  • We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.

  • We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.

  • We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

The ‘Love Your River Campaign’
Defra and a range of partner organisations have come together to launch the ‘Love Your River’external link campaign to celebrate the importance of our waterways to the economy, society and the environment and to remind people of the steps they can take to protect these special places.  The network of Catchment Sensitive Farming advisers based throughout England provide no cost practical support and advice that helps land managers reduce the effect of pollution on our rivers.

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