Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund applications closing soon

Published 09 December 2021

Environment Farm business Agricultural Transition Plan

Following NFU lobbying and successful uptake, a sixth round of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund is now open. The closing date for applications is 2 February 2022. This is an extension to the previously advertised closing date of 19 January 2022.

The Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund has proved to be a popular scheme with NFU members and we've been calling for another round since the last offer in 2018.

The fund enables groups of farmers and landowners in England to work together to:

  • Improve the natural environment at a landscape, rather than single-farm, scale
  • Achieve greater improvements than individual holdings could on their own

It is likely that a similar collaborative working approach will be taken forward through ELMs, and specifically through the Local Nature Recovery scheme.

Support for environmental priorities

The £2.5 million fund will encourage collaboration and knowledge-sharing in the farming community. Applications can be made by groups by submitting an overview of how they plan to work together to share knowledge, and both protect and enhance their local environment.

This year’s fund will especially offer support for new environmental priorities, such as the improvement of air quality through slurry removal, reduction of ammonia emissions, tree planting and shelters.

A far-reaching scheme

There have been five previous rounds of the Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund, funding 139 groups with over 3,800 members. This further round of funding is expected to invest in more than 30 facilitation groups.

The fund will support the delivery of Defra’s ambition for thriving plants and wildlife as part of the 25-year Environment Plan. It is also part of Defra’s plans for a renewed agricultural sector centred around incentivising sustainable farming practices alongside profitable food production.

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