Government publishes manual on the hedgerows and boundaries grant
This month the Government published their Countryside Stewardship: hedgerows and boundaries grant manual 2017 - a guidance note for rural landowners on the standalone capital grant available.
Farmers and other land managers can apply for the grand administered by Natural England and use the grant to help provide environmental and landscape benefits on their land.
It is a one-off grant designed to help farmers improve farmland boundaries and is worth up to £5,000, by restoring a range of traditional boundaries including hedgerows, dry stone walls, stone-faced banks and earth banks.
The process of obtaining the grant, as with all Countryside Stewardship Schemes, is competitive and applications will score more highly if the business has been in a previous Environmental Stewardship agreement or England Woodland Grant Scheme.
The guidance notes also sets out that priority will be given to smaller holdings and restoring hedges or walls, which are preferred over stone-faced or earth banks. In addition, more points will be awarded if the application is for more than £1,000, and if the holding is part of a group receiving Facilitation Fund payments.
Guy Thompson, Chief Operating Officer of Natural England, commented hedgerows, dry stone walls and earth banks are a 'quintessential' part of the English countryside and “Not only do they perform a vital agricultural role in protecting crops and livestock from the elements, they help support a variety of wildlife.
“Increasingly farmland boundaries also play a major role in preventing soil loss as well as reducing pollution and flooding.”
As part of the agreement, payment rates will be fixed for each item. These include hedge-laying or coppicing, hedgerow restoration through gapping-up, stone-faced bank repair and stone wall restoration, which can include a top wiring supplement.
The grant demonstrates the Government’s willingness to maintain both dry stone walls, due to their historical significance and role in the UK’s rural landscape, and hedges, as a result of contributions to natural ecosystems, and view boundaries as fundamental in protecting the rural landscape.
For more information how on to apply for the grant please click here
The deadline to apply for the grant to Natural England is Friday 28 April
Grant offers will be made to successful applicants from July 2017.
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