Final call for STEPS catchment grants

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Severn Trent is issuing a final call for infrastructure grant applications, with the funding window closing on May 31st.

Through the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS), farmers in pesticide priority catchments can apply for up to £20,000 of match funding to invest in sprayer washdown and handling areas. A further £5,000 is available for rainwater harvesting equipment.

Dr Adam Freer, senior catchment scientist, added that if projects are completed within six months, an additional 25% of the cost of the washdown area is available.

“We’ve identified pesticides as one of three key concerns in our priority catchments, so we’re urging farmers to pursue funded options that prevent them reaching watercourses – as well as nitrates or cryptosporidium,” he says.

On-farm success

One farmer who has taken advantage of the PWDA funding is Alastair Hunter Blair, a Herefordshire-based arable farmer whose farm runs along the River Wye, making pesticide management is a major consideration.

He says: “We do what we can to prevent runoff entering the river. Although our spray and nutrient applications and management are well within legal requirements, we know there’s always more we can do to protect water quality.”

After initial conversations with his local Severn Trent agricultural advisor, Alastair learned the farm sat in a pesticide priority area. His advisor, Robin Ransome, supported him with an application to replace a dilapidated barn with a new PWDA, as well as a 10,000-litre rainwater harvesting tank.

He adds: “Regulations are getting tighter around plant protection products used on-farm, so when the STEPS opportunity arose it was clear we could get ahead of the curve.”

To find out more about STEPS funding, contact your local Severn Trent agricultural adviser or visit:

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