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Funding news - 01/09/2017

Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund for Farmers in England - Round 3 Open

The Countryside Stewardship (CS) Facilitation Fund was set up to support individuals and groups that unite farmers, foresters and other land managers in order to improve the local natural environment at a landscape scale.

The landscape scale approach can cover plots under existing agri-environment and forestry/woodland agreements, common land and land that is not currently covered by a scheme. The scheme builds on the principles of partnership working to deliver environmental benefits, as demonstrated by various initiatives, including farm clusters and the farmer-led Nature Improvement Area.

The programme has a total budget of £7.2 million. The maximum funding for a facilitator is dependent on the number of holdings involved in the group and the work that the facilitator does. With four holdings a facilitator could receive up to £12,000 per annum, which comprises £500 per holding and up to £10,000 for costs of delivering the cooperation. With 10 holdings, the amount could rise to £15,000 up to a maximum of £50,000 per annum for a group of 80 holdings.

Facilitators can be paid for the following:

  • The running costs of facilitating the cooperation including their salary costs.
  • The direct costs of the project set out in a detailed plan, which should include the transfer of knowledge and expertise.
  • Pro-rata salary of the facilitator (whether employed or self-employed at an agreed rate).
  • Contributions to national insurance or pensions.

Eligible costs include:

  • costs associated with administration travel and subsistence, meetings, VAT where the facilitator is NOT VAT registered; and
  • costs associated with the provision of training on activities that are directly required for the delivery of the CS priorities in the statements of priorities, such as training materials, training venues and buying in the trainers.

Individuals or organisations in England that are from the farming, forestry and other land management sectors or service providers with environmental land management experience and suitable facilitation skills can apply for facilitation funding.

Applicants will need to have expertise in at least one of the following: Agriculture; Forestry; Water management; and Ecology.

All applications will be assessed for value for money through a competitive process.

Farming Minister George Eustice said:

"The benefits of action to develop habitats and protect the environment can be magnified if applied on a landscape scale with groups of farmers working together. This facilitation fund will support partnership working to maximise the benefits of our Countryside Stewardship schemes to our farmed environment.

"Leaving the EU creates a great opportunity to design a new agriculture policy that delivers environmental outcomes more effectively and testing partnership working in this way will help provide us with experience to inform future policy."

The third round is now open until 14 November 2017.

See the programme website for more details.

Source: Natural England, 01/09/2017

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