Its launch last year was widely regarded as being totally chaotic, with some guidance notes arriving after the application deadline had closed. So it was testament to the pioneering nature of many farmers and their advisors that 2,344 Mid Tier and 326 Higher Tier applications were submitted. Having said that, Natural England is still working through these applications despite the start date of the schemes being 1st January 2016.
However, despite last year’s applications still needing to be sorted, a number of new grants and initiatives have opened, or are about to open, that may be of interest to farmers in these straightened times.
On 1st February the Hedges and Boundaries Capital Grant scheme opened which is a stand-alone application process under the overall banner of CS.
The maximum grant available is £5,000 per farmer and the application period closes on 30th April.
There are 12 capital items available with different payment rates which include grants for:
• Hedgerows: planting, laying, coppicing, gapping up and supplements for casting up and top binding and staking
• Earth bank restoration