On-farm biodiversity grant deadline looms

Environmental and biodiversity funding is available for farmers in the Midlands
Environmental and biodiversity funding is available for farmers in the Midlands

Farmers in the Midlands have until Sunday to apply for funding to improve biodiversity on-farm under Severn Trent's Environmental Protection Scheme.

The funding is exclusively for farmers in priority catchments who have plans to apply for, or have previously received funding from, Severn Trent’s main STEPS scheme.

The scheme aids on-farm improvements that protect and enhance water quality and natural habitats.

Dr Adam Freer, senior catchment scientist at Severn Trent, is urging farmers to sign up: “Spring STEPS provides funding for a range of biodiversity improvement options.

"I would encourage farmers to look into what’s available by going online, or contacting their local Severn Trent agricultural adviser.

“There are options to suit all farm types and systems, from enhancing biodiversity in existing grassland, planting diverse herbal leys, or developing wildflower margins."

Farmers can put forward their own creative ideas for improving wildlife habitats through an ‘innovation’ option.

STEPS is part of the Farming for Water initiative, a catchment management programme which protects water quality and biodiversity, while also supporting farms.

Last year, a total of 1,700 hectares of new wildlife habitats were created by Farming for Water farmers.

Dr Freer said: “Biodiversity is a growing area of importance for UK farmers, particularly considering the government’s impending Environmental Land Management scheme.

"We want to continue to support them on their journey to farming in a more environmentally sustainable way.”

Once the application is accepted, projects must be completed by 1 March 2022.