Farmers in the Midlands have until 31 January to apply for an environmental grant of up to £5,000.
Dr Jodie Rettino, Severn Trent catchment management and biodiversity lead explains that the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) aims to minimise pollution and protect local watercourses.
“Our catchment management programme focuses on working closely with farmers to reduce the overall quantity of water that has to undergo expensive treatment as this helps us keep consumers’ bills down,” she says.
“As part of this, the STEPS grant provides livestock and arable farmers with match-funding for a wide variety of infrastructure and land management items that work towards minimising pollution and protecting watercourses,” adds Jodie.
“For example, project options range from livestock pasture pumps to cover crops and rainwater harvesting to covering pesticide wash-down areas.”
Jodie points out that there is also an innovation option. This gives farmers the opportunity to apply for a project that is not listed as an option in the handbook but will improve the farm business and work towards the goals of the STEPS initiative.
“We are keen to hear farmers’ proposed solutions as it fosters innovation.
“The application process is straight forward. I’d recommend farmers read the STEPS handbook and discuss possible improvement measures with their local agricultural advisor to increase their chances of a successful application,” she concludes.
To be eligible for funding, farms must be within a Severn Trent target area and must be at least three hectares in size.
The STEPS scheme offers grants of up to £5,000 per year, per farm, and farms can apply to the scheme in consecutive years to continue making improvements.