Grants available for restoration projects
A new programme launched by Natural England for grants of up to Â£5,000 for hedge, wall and boundary restoration is available throughout April.
The grant is open for applications this month and is designed to help farmers maintain the much loved, and often vital, parts of the countryside.
The application window runs until Saturday, April 30.
Farmers can apply for a one-off award of up to £5,000 towards the restoration of hedgerows, dry stone walls, stone-faced banks or earth banks.
“The grant will favour smaller farms that have been in a stewardship scheme before,” said David Morley, from H&H Land and Property.
“There is a limited pot of money available, and only the highest scoring applications will be successful, so if you are considering the scheme, you should make as strong an application as possible.
“Applications score more highly if the business has been a previous Environmental Stewardship agreement or a Woodland Scheme.”
Standard payment rates are fixed for the capital items that can be applied for.
These include hedge laying or coppicing, hedgerow restoration through gapping up, stone-faced bank repair and stone wall restoration, which can include a wall top wiring supplement.
Grants are not available to any business that is in an Environmental Stewardship (ELS or HLS) or a Mid Tier or Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship agreement on July 1, 2016, but it is expected the award will be available each year with a February to April application window.
Farmers can apply for grants every year but businesses that have not previously received a grant will be given priority.
Awards will be made to successful applicants in June 2016 and, if accepted, the agreement will start on July 1.
The work must be completed within two years and payments claimed by the end of September 2018.