Apply now for the Water Restoration Fund

Environment and climate
River landscape

Groups of farmers can now apply for large grants to help improve water bodies such as rivers and lakes from the new Water Restoration Fund.

The Water Restoration Fund will distribute money gathered from water company fines rather than the agricultural budget – a total of £11 million.

Anglian Water, South West Water, Thames Water, United Utilities, and Yorkshire Water have all been fined and the grants will be allocated to the areas they serve.

Groups can either apply for capacity-building grants, ranging from £75,000 to £250,000, or delivery grants, ranging from £500,000 to £2 million.

Protect and enhance the environment

NFU Environment Forum chair Richard Bramley said: “Alongside producing food for the nation, our members are working hard to protect and enhance the environment.

“The grants being made available through the Water Restoration Fund could support any on farm scheme or projects our members are involved in as part of farm cluster groups to improve the water environment of rivers and their headwaters, lakes, canals, ponds, wetlands and estuaries.

“This should boost nature, create habitats for wildlife, and benefit water quality.”

Defra says that it wants the grants to fund nature-based solutions, better community access, and innovative technologies.

Alongside producing food for the nation, our members are working hard to protect and enhance the environment.”

NFU Environment Forum chair Richard Bramley

It also wants local groups and farm clusters to join forces and apply for grants to fund projects at a catchment scale.

Applying for the grant

Read the government’s guidance at: GOV.UK | Water Restoration Fund before beginning your application.

You can still apply for a grant if you've received funding through ELMs. However, the grant shouldn't be used for anything you're already being paid for.

The deadline for submitting your application is 7 June 2024.

The RPA will score your application against its eligibility criteria, after which it will be assessed by a panel against the scoring criteria and then assessed against the scheme's objectives, value for money and other applications.

Defra has said it expects to award grants at the end of July.

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