The hedgerows and boundaries grant and woodland creation grant under the Countryside Stewardship scheme open for applications in February.
Thousands of hectares of England’s countryside are set to benefit from further protection thanks to 2 grants to be rolled out under the Countryside Stewardship scheme this month.
The new hedgerows and boundaries capital grant opens for applications on 1 February and closes on 30 April 2016. It offers up to £5,000 for farmers who want to restore boundary features, such as hedges and stone walls, to protect their local wildlife or landscape.
The Forestry Commission’s woodland creation grant is also opening this month (16 February to 31 March 2016 for initial applications) and offers farmers and other land managers up to £6,800 per hectare to plant, weed, and protect young trees.
As well as improving the landscape, creating new woodland can support wildlife and improve water quality. It can also help to reduce flood risk as part of an integrated approach to catchment management. In the right place, woodland can play an important role in reducing flood waters, delaying their passage to watercourses, and decreasing siltation, increasing the capacity of river channels.
The second round of the Countryside Stewardship facilitation fund, which brings together farmers, foresters and other land managers to improve their local natural environment, opened recently for submissions and will close on 18 March 2016.
Countryside Stewardship will commit around £900 million to benefitting the environment between now and 2020. This is on top of the £2 billion already committed for existing agri-environment schemes such as Environmental Stewardship.
See the Countryside Stewardship page for more information about these grants and how to apply.
Farming Minister George Eustice welcomed the opening of the application rounds, saying:
“This Countryside Stewardship scheme has a crucial role to play in helping to restore habitats so we can see a recovery in wildlife populations like farmland birds and pollinators, while creating larger woodlands will also help reduce flood risk.
“Through our 25-year Environment Plan we will be looking at delivering benefits across wider landscapes and whole water catchment areas by bringing together Countryside Stewardship, flood protection and other environmental spending.”