Thursday 20th October 2016                 Change text size:

£20 million fund to help rural businesses reduce environmental impact

£20 million fund to help rural businesses reduce environmental impact

Rural businesses to get help to be more environmental.A scheme has been set up to give farmers, foresters and horticulturalists the opportunity to apply for grants to invest in green projects. Charlotte Reid has more.

A £20 million fund has been set up to help rural businesses reduce their impact on the environment whilst also helping to increase their profits.

The scheme, which is part of the Rural Development Programme for England, is for farmers, foresters and horticulturalists. Businesses can apply for a maximum grant of £25,000 to help them grow environmentally by investing in green projects and new machinery.

The farming and forestry improvement scheme will help to fund projects that:
•    Save energy and reduce carbon emissions,
•    Reduce dependence on artificial fertilizers through better use of manures,
•    Improve soil quality,
•    Improve animal health and welfare,
•    Save and recycle water,
•    Promote woodland management by processing timber more efficiently.

Under the scheme, all farmers, foresters and horticulturalists in England are invited to apply for grants between £2,500 and £25,000. All applicants will be assessed on their ability to meet one or more of the six environmental objectives.

The grants will be used to cover up to half the total cost of projects in uplands areas and 40% of the total costs in non-uplands areas.

Agriculture minister, Jim Paice, said, “Growing our economy goes hand-in-hand with protecting and improving our environment.”

Paice added, “We want rural business to thrive and this new fund will help farmers, foresters and horticulturalists to boost their profits and use greener and more efficient ways of working.”

Businesses interested in the farming and forestry improvement scheme should read the handbook from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The £20 million fund is available until December 2013, and the first round of applications to the scheme is open from November 16th 2011 to January 17th 2012.

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