Environmental grant scheme extended

Given the recent adverse weather, Severn Trent has opened up its STEPS environmental grant scheme applications to farmers who haven’t yet completed projects from last year’s funding round.

Emma Abbott, Severn Trent agricultural team manager, explains that many farmers use the autumn and winter as a quieter time to complete STEPS work, but the wet weather has meant over 50% of 2019 projects are not yet finished.

“We want to continue to support and encourage farmers in protecting water quality and streamlining operations. So, we hope that this extra flexibility will help them to continue their good work,” she says.

Extended application deadline

The water company has also given farmers more time to get their grant applications in. “We’ve extended the STEPS application deadline until 14 February 2020. But as the grants are becoming more competitive, we’d recommend taking time to consider your application now,” says Adam Freer, Severn Trent catchment scientist.

“Applications are accepted based on a scoring system, so to make yours more competitive, I’d strongly recommend including a high priority option on your application. These will depend on your catchment, but generally include items that help prevent pesticides, nitrates or bacteria from reaching water.

“So, I’d encourage farmers to get in touch with their local Severn Trent agricultural adviser, to help tailor applications to individual farms,” he says.

How to apply

  • Find out if you are in a priority catchment here: stwater.co.uk/catchment
  • Read the STEPS options brochure to find out about the wide range of options you can apply for, or, contact your agricultural advisor to arrange a visit to discuss what is best for your farm
  • Once you have decided on the most suitable solutions, you can apply online stwater.co.uk/steps
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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.