Farmers pitch ideas to improve biodiversity as part of £100k fund

The fund will implement projects that improve habitats for wildlife
The fund will implement projects that improve habitats for wildlife

Farmers in the Midlands have the opportunity to pitch for a share of £100,000 to provide support for projects that improve biodiversity while enhancing farmland.

The Severn Trent Boost for Biodiversity scheme encourages farmers to come up with their own ideas to improve the region’s natural environment.

The scheme, previously known as Cash for Catchments, enters its second year and aims to implement several projects that improve habitats for wildlife and provide environmental, economic and social benefits.

Zara Turtle, Severn Trent catchment partnership coordinator said: “Last year’s successful submissions included projects that focused on native species conservation, river restoration, wetland improvements and natural flood management, to name a few.

“The highest scoring applicants will receive funds to support their projects. Following this they will have the opportunity to increase their funding by pitching their proposal to a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style panel, at Severn Trent’s head office in Coventry.”

One of last year’s successful applicants was farmer Ian Steele, whose business works towards sustainable farming practices and high-quality food production.

Mr Steele said the fund helped to fund a wetland and drainage improvement project at Trelfach Farm in Shropshire.

“We were awarded £29,425 to tackle a number of issues relating to the local watercourse, such as poaching, nutrient leaching, slit build-up and lack of water for grazing livestock,” he said.

“We put the funding towards various solutions. The work included alterations to the cattle shed drainage to prevent nutrient leaching, installing a more efficient septic tank system and restoring a pool to enhance biodiversity and improve flood-risk management.”

Farmers and landowners in the region are invited to submit project proposals until 31 May 2019. Total fund of £100,000 available.