Defra has highlighted that the Slurry Infrastructure grant is a time-limited opportunity, with no plans to launch further rounds beyond 2024.
Ahead of round 2, Defra will be looking at options for prioritising grants, including widening the target areas or using a different method to manage high numbers of applications.
Round 1 – On 4 April 2023, Defra released an article highlighting the outcomes of the first round of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant.
Following more than 1200 applications during round 1, Defra announced an increase in the funding for the Slurry Infrastructure Grant, more than doubling the budget for Round 1 from £13.2 million to £33.9 million.
Under this expanded funding pot, 374 projects were invited to submit a full application ahead of the deadline on the 28 June, 2024.
Successful applications have been selected based on the assessment of how many storage projects the market could handle without causing unnecessary delays or price inflation.
Round 2 – Defra recently announced that it has made available a further £147m via the Slurry Infrastructure Grant over the next two rounds.
The Round 2 will build on Round 1, whilst there will be a priority areas, we would encourage all to apply, as with Round 1 applicants from outside priority areas were successful with their initial applications.
Defra has indicated that Round 3 is due to open in 2024.
Eligible farmers who have been unsuccessful within Round 1 are encouraged to submit another application in these subsequent rounds.
In addition to this funding through the small grants Farming Equipment and Technology Fund - Productivity and Slurry theme set out below there will be £21m for slurry items over the next two rounds (in addition to funding for other productivity items). The first of these two rounds are due to open in early 2024.
Round 1 reminders
Successful applications for round 1 of the Slurry Infrastructure grant, must submit full grant applications with associated planning permission by 28 June 2024.
Failure to do so will result in application refusal/cancellation.
What has happened to date
- Projects prioritised this round received an email from the RPA (Rural Payments Agency) telling them what they need to prepare to complete their full application.
We would encourage everyone who is invited to the next stage to prepare and submit your application as soon as possible to avoid delays in receiving a grant.
- Applicants were given the opportunity to speak with CSF (Catchment Sensitive Farming) officers. CSF offered a free advice visit to discuss slurry management and ways of reducing pollution across farm.
- Projects who have not been prioritised this round will be invited to resubmit their application when the checker reopens in autumn 2023, more information will be provided in autumn 2023.
Applications for Round 1 of the Slurry Infrastructure Grant closed on 31 January 2023.
Decisions on initial outline applications were made at the end of March 2023.
Successful applications for round 1 must submit full grant applications with associated planning permission by 28 June 2024. Failure to do so will result in application refusal/cancellation.
For more information on round 1 applications, visit: Slurry infrastructure grant – round 1.
We've put together a list of answers to questions you've been asking on the scheme. Read: Slurry Infrastructure Grant – your questions answered.
We encouraged all eligible members who were interested in ensuring they have sufficient slurry storage capacity now or in the future to apply.
We've worked with members and extensively with the Defra team over the past year through a combination of co-design and bilateral engagement, building up a good working relationship to help shape the offer and ensure transparency within the scheme.
We have made a real difference to move the offer on from Defra's initial thinking, such as the ability now for a farmer to choose from a wide range of infrastructure types to suit their farm as well as the grant not being restricted to just new installations. Despite this, some elements of the offer have not been consulted on, such as the actual prioritisation area, payment rates or timelines.
The NFU believes the Slurry Infrastructure grant offer must be extended beyond the current plan of three rounds and funding increased to match demand.
We are continuing to work with Defra and we would welcome any feedback from members. Please send us your views by email at [email protected].
We maintain that adequate slurry storage is essential for farmers to continue protecting water courses and improve water and air quality.
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “The farming industry has already made significant progress, with a 75% reduction in serious pollution incidents year-on-year compared to 2000.
“Farmers want and can do more to cut pollution levels and this grant will go a long way towards supporting that.
“Though some farmers have plans, equipment and infrastructure in place to manage the nutrients in their slurry and manure, others face significant financial barriers to having sufficient slurry storage.
“The new funding being made available through the Slurry Infrastructure Grant scheme will provide farmers in England an opportunity to invest in slurry systems and boost their storage capacity to six months. This will help drive improvements that further reduce the environmental impact of those businesses, improve productivity and reduce input costs.
“The NFU has been working closely with Defra on the development of the scheme and will continue to do so to ensure as many farmers as possible are able to access this type of funding support.
“It’s vital that future farming schemes enable farmers to invest in new technology and infrastructure to tackle potential pollution issues and crucially improve water and air quality, as part of protecting the environment alongside producing sustainable climate-friendly food.
“Farmers want and can do more to cut pollution levels and this grant will go a long way towards supporting that.”
NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw
“I would encourage farmers to look at what’s on offer with this scheme, consider the requirements for their farm, and make their applications as quickly as possible and, if accepted, give themselves as much time as possible to make the necessary planning and building arrangements.”