A rural heads up – more grant funding on its way, with some here now

Featuring Brian Harvey | 3rd August, 2017

At the end of last week an announcement was made of a £200 million boost for rural England.

The press release continued that this would, “make sure businesses in remote locations can get online, help farmers install cutting-edge technology, create new tourist hotspots and bring high quality jobs to rural communities across the country.”

As always, these announcements are of interest to us as we deal with a significant number of ‘rural businesses’. I ask my colleagues to go behind the headlines and see what is being offered, when, who to and how to apply.

In summary, my colleague concluded that the announcement is more of a ‘heads up’ than actually bearing details of funding currently available. Since the announcement, grant schemes have opened for ‘water management’ and ‘forestry productively’.

The £200m boost

Details gleaned from press release can be summarised as follows:

Aspect and allocation More details When grants available from?
To improve rural broadband – £30m To improve rural broadband, supplementing existing department for digital, culture, media and sport investment in this area

This will help provide broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster where this is not available or planned

Later this year
Help rural businesses grow and invest in new equipment – £45m To help rural businesses, including those engaged in tourism and food production, grow and invest in new equipment

 

Later this year
Improve farm productivity – £120m For projects that improve farm productivity, including woodland management equipment, creating on-farm reservoirs and using water more efficiently The first grant funding that will become available will be for reservoirs and forestry equipment (see below)

Funding for rural business support, on-farm food processing, arable and horticultural productivity and resource efficiency will be made available later in the year

As soon as we hear more details of any of the aspects, we will endeavour to post these up to our blog. First up, as indicated above, are grants for ‘water management’ and ‘forestry productivity’.

Grants available now

The two schemes opened this week are part of a roll out of the Countryside Productivity Scheme:

  Water Management Forestry Productivity
Grant size 40% of the eligible costs of a project, with the minimum grant on offer being £35,000.
For projects… It can be used to help pay for:

  • construction of a water storage reservoir (above or below ground) filled by either peak flow surface water abstraction, borehole or rain water harvested from buildings
  • abstraction points, pumps and pipework to fill the reservoir, boom or trickle irrigation systems, water metering equipment or software and sensors to optimise water application

Only arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated crops can apply for the water resource management grants

The money can be used to pay for equipment that improves forestry productivity through felling, extraction or if it adds value through primary processing
Deadline The deadline for all applications is 3 April 2018
Application process Handbook, Application Form and Guidance materials are on the Countryside Productivity Scheme website

As a reminder, other elements of ‘rural’ funding, available through the Rural Development Programme for England, are open and details of these can be found via a colleague’s previous blog.

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