East Devon landowners and farmers urged to get together for share of £2.5m funding

Groups of farmers and landowners in East Devon are being urged to get together and apply for a share of £2.5 million – made available by the government for the fourth national round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund.

The application deadline is October 4 and the fund is expected to support around 40 new groups nationally as they deliver large-scale environmental improvements over the next three years.

The types of schemes likely to win support include natural flood prevention, tree planting and the enhancement of wildlife habitats.

In order to be in with a chance, applicants must submit plans showing how they will work together and share knowledge to protect and enhance their local environment. The plans must also work in unison with local Countryside Stewardship priorities.

Training, support and advice will be available to potential Countryside Stewardship applicants.

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.”

Rural Payments Agency Chief Executive Paul Caldwell said: “More farmers will have the opportunity to benefit from this funding and deliver long-term improvements for the environment, working with other local farmers.

“With this funding, facilitators will be able to amplify the benefits brought by the Countryside Stewardship schemes, as well as reaping the rewards for farmers, land managers and our rural communities.

“Through three national rounds and one flood-focused round, we have committed £7.8 million of funding to 98 facilitation groups established since 2015 across England. The groups have supported and endorsed 1,200 new Countryside Stewardship agreements, coordinating action to make positive environmental impact in their local areas.”

Find out more and apply for funding here.

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